Thursday 18 January 2018

Storyful emerges as player in online advertising wars

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch

Gerry Smith and Mark Bergen

The media startup sold by Irish journalist Mark Little in 2013 has emerged as the front line in Rupert Murdoch's battle with search engine giant Google.

News Corp - which was founded by Murdoch, pictured - is introducing a new service for advertisers that aims to ensure online ads don't appear next to fake news or offensive videos. It's a growing concern for companies and led to a high-profile stand-off between ad agencies and YouTube last month.

Storyful's new service will focus on "video brand safety", executives said.

"This will be one way to give advertisers peace of mind," Storyful chief executive Rahul Chopra said in an interview.

Dublin-based Storyful already verifies social media output as a service for publishers and brands. The new push will see it track websites known as purveyors of fake news or extremist content and share that list with advertisers, who can use it to keep their ads clear of controversial associations.

The service is being pitched as a full blockade against content that's anathema to marketers, and comes as the two biggest forces in online ads - Google and Facebook - face pressure for failing to offer such tools.

Google, in particular, has taken heat for its video offering. Major advertisers, including in Ireland, stopped spending on YouTube last month over concern their ads could appear next to offensive videos. Google introduced controls to mitigate the problem, yet rivals are trying to exploit the issue.

Ad-buyer GroupM and marketing firm Weber Shandwick will be the first two companies to use the Storyful database, News Corp said.

The company will work with Moat, an analytics company recently acquired by Oracle Corp, and the City University of New York School of Journalism to maintain the list of controversial website domains. The database will be free, though Storyful eventually wants to provide a service to help advertisers decide where to place ads.

Chopra said Storyful, which News Corp bought in 2013, is working not just on compiling a list of controversial websites, but on identifying how such content spreads online to stop it earlier. He wants to "choke the money supply to people spreading content like this". (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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