There are many inefficiencies in the 400 year-old news publication process. The only recent disruption in this industry is on the digital side, with paywalls and aggregators. There is still an unfulfilled need for many people who don’t like just digital, but are less willing to pay for the print version anymore – because it’s either too expensive and/or it’s less relevant to them. The latter part is key, since one might ask why newspapers and magazines are making one version for all consumers, when news is a very personal/unique product? One could argue that the entire platform, where editors decide what is most important to everyone, is wrong. As the consumer, we should pick and choose the articles and topics that are relevant to us, which differ from person to person and from time to time. You might say Google News, Flipboard, Feedly or one of the countless other aggregation services are already doing this, but their platform is still insufficient – they’re simply aggregating an endless amount of links. There’s little point in providing yet another RSS aggregator, when it’s possible to create a platform for customized, packaged and consumable news. Reportory is a technology platform that creates a customized news product based on news sources, topics and keywords indicated by the consumer. Readers register via www.reportory.com, where they indicate which news sources they want, which news topics they care about, and which keywords they want to ensure they are kept updated on. The technology searches the database of content to find matches against each reader’s preferences, creates customized digests with matching articles, emailing it to readers every morning. Readers can choose to read the attached PDF version, or click to their online portal which only has relevant articles listed. This personalized list is also easily accessible on the iOS mobile application. Readers can change their news preferences at any point and their next digest will update accordingly.
Tracy Clark has launched and sold two websites, and has experience in the news media sector (having worked with CNN.com, The Roanoke Times, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), as well as technological expertise (from working with IBM and Lenovo). She came up with the idea of Reportory back in 2008, while working at The Roanoke Times. During a staff meeting, the publisher was presenting the paper’s annual earnings and made the comment that “people and paper are the two most expensive aspects of running the newspaper.” Tracy’s immediate thoughts were to shut down the printing press and transfer the burden of printing to those customers who still want a print copy, and subsequently let go of those employees who do print layouts, run the press, and the delivery people. Instead, her vision is for the newspaper to invest in a platform to tailor news to individual interests. Reportory solves three pain points around news consumption – time, money, and waste. The platform eliminates the problems of news delivery and consumption, providing an ideal reading solution for consumers, and an additional stream of revenue for publishers. Reportory saves time, by finding the most relevant articles based on reader preference, bringing the news directly to the consumer rather than forcing them to actively visit various websites and manually search for articles of interest. Readers do not have to subscribe to multiple, separate print publications and online paywalls when using Reportory, saving money since they only pay based on what they consume. And because Reportory delivers only the news that readers want every day to their inbox, it eliminates the print waste of yesterday’s news.
While Reportory is a new platform, similar models have proven their success in changing the face of things – Pandora and Spotify revolutionized the music industry with personalized solutions from an inadequate, impersonal radio model. Similarly and simultaneously, Hulu and Netflix did the same for the TV industry, with their solution. Reportory seeks to provide the same sort of personalized solution for newsreaders, who are growing tired of expensive and wasteful newspapers and magazines. After all, in the US alone, there are 93,100,000 newspaper subscribers and 308,000,000 magazine subscribers, presumably looking for a more personal and practical alternative. And Reportory is in a position to gain from this, considering its position as a purveyor of personalized news articles. This seems to be the sort of pattern of growth which the news industry will take in the years to come, and it will in all likelihood grow substantially, with new players filling niche areas of the market.
Reportory’s target demographic consists of educated adults aged between thirty and seventy, who read a variety of news sources. The primary audience is those readers between fifty and seventy, who grew up with print media and thus have an affinity for it, likely overwhelmed by the technology of aggregators but tired of paying for separate publications. Reportory’s secondary audience consists of those readers between thirty and fifty, who realize the importance of news but don’t prioritise paying for print subscriptions or through online paywalls. Reportory offers a three-tier freemium model: a free version with ads and a maximum of ten articles per day, twenty articles per day and no ads for $4.99 per month, and thirty articles per day for $9.99 monthly.