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A Gen Z state of mind fuels SCREENSHOT Media’s rapid growth
Future News 173: The UK-based outlet knows how Zoomers think
Next year, expect a passing of the torch between two generations. The number of baby boomers in the workforce will be overtaken by 18 to 26-year-olds for the first time.
Though Millennials will still reign supreme as the most dominant generation in full-time work, it will be a coming of age for Generation Z who will soon become the next managerial class.
Despite this substantial increase in financial and political power, media brands, including news outlets, have continually found it difficult to ‘find’ Zoomers.
It’s partly because they're different. They care about the environment more, love travelling and they drink a lot less. A significant proportion of Gen Z have also had to go through their college/university years in lockdowns, whilst significantly reducing face-to-face social time with their friends and loved ones.
Gen Z’s divergence is also represented in how they consume media. This is a generation that has only known smartphones and broadband internet, after all.
Smartphone-friendly apps, including Instagram and TikTok, are natural favourites for Gen Z and so is YouTube, which is increasingly embarrassing short-form video content.
But instead of creating bespoke content for these platforms, embracing their quirks and stylistic rhythms in the process, traditional news outlets have tried to clumsily repurpose their content. The end result is that Gen Z has been broadly turned off.
One publisher which has been able to take advantage of this divide and turn Gen Z on is UK-based SCREESHORT Media. Founded in 2019 by Shira Jeczmien (pictured), the business now has a global monthly reach of more than 205 million, 60% of whom are 18 to 24-year-olds.
SCREENSHOT, which concentrates on news and current affairs, is the publisher’s biggest brand. But as the group has expanded, including a move to Shoreditch, the team have launched a fashion vertical and an entertainment vertical.
The success, including 70% year-on-year audience growth, has seen SCREENSHOT’s agency arm work with major global brands like Calvin Klein, Canterbury and Huawei to connect with younger consumers. But how is Jeczmien funding the enterprise?
“We have bootstrapped from the beginning, starting out in half a studio in Dalston that we shared with a casting agency,” she told Future News. “We now have a team of 35, almost all of whom are the same age as our target audience.”
As for the company’s revenue (with the total figure being undisclosed), it’s coming from a range of sources, including platform monetisation, direct sales through SCREENSHOT’s agency arm and selling direct sponsored content on the publisher’s channels.
“Our revenue has grown 65% year-on-year since we launched and we are on track for upwards of 100% growth this year,” Jeczmien explained.
Like London-listed The LadBible Group, SCREENSHOT sees the US as a big opportunity. It has subsequently launched an elections landing page. The comparisons between the two media brands don’t end there.
“[LadBible] are going after a similar audience,” Jeczmien said. “We really respect them and, to me, they are a British media success story. The thing that sets us apart from LadBible is that we have always created exclusively original content and have always had the news media side of things.
“In terms of other outlets who might be established rivals: Channel 4 is doing some interesting things with 4Studio and the launch of the 4.0 vertical.”
(2) The Social Network 2.0. We’ve had all the thrills, spills and high-drama of a David Fincher movie over the weekend after a statement appeared on the OpenAI website announcing that the company’s board had lost confidence in Sam Altman.
His failures? The board claimed Altman was not “consistently candid” with them and that he would be subsequently replaced as CEO of the business by OpenAI CTO Mira Murati.
The amateur internet sleuths started to populate social media with their own ‘theories’ about why Altman was moved on. But if The Information and the FT are right, he could apparently be back in the saddle soon as influential investors in OpenAI were also allegedly caught off-guard by Friday’s announcement and some want to reinstate the co-founder.
Whatever happens next, OpenAI’s structure is once again under the spotlight -- this time not from an aggrieved Elon Musk. Since 2019, the organisation’s board has overseen a non-profit entity that owns a “capped” for-profit company.
The board includes OpenAI’s chief scientist, Ilya Sutskever. If you want to get a better understanding of Sutskever, watch this long-form interview from Eye on AI. And to keep track of all the OpenAI news, make sure to follow Future News’ ‘AI reporters’ list.
(3) The Telegraph battle erupts. The briefings around the bids for one of Britain's most influential broadsheets had been gentlemanly up until last Friday. Then stories broke that Politico owner Axel Springer had reportedly pulled out of the auction to buy The Telegraph Media Group, which also includes The Spectator, because the alleged £660 million price tag was too high.
Then it emerged that Daily Mail and General Trust boss Lord Rothermere had given a rare sit-down interview with The Times (his first press grilling in 20 years), outlining his own intentions for the future of the outlet, including growing The Telegraph’s audience in the US.
Things really started to heat up on Saturday night when Bloomberg reported that senior British ministers had raised concerns that the outlet could fall into foreign ownership.
News of the intervention came just hours after Sky News reported that a court hearing to liquidate a Barclay family holding company had been adjourned.
The Barclay family are apparently planning to repay a long-standing debt to Lloyds Banking Group, the current owner of The Telegraph Media Group, and take back control of the business.
They are reportedly using financing from Jeff Zucker’s RedBird IM, which is part funded by Abu Dhabi-based International Media Investments group, to seal the deal. Initial offers for The Telegraph Media Group and its titles are due on 28 November. Goldman Sachs is running the sales process.
(4) The WFH company. Zoom became synonymous with remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic, with its shares soaring as workers across the world jumped on video calls to keep their businesses running. Such was the mass adoption of Zoom, it reached a high of almost $500 per share in October 2020.
Now, more than three years on, the company is trading around $65, with a market cap’ of $19 billion. Hybrid working is still a ‘thing’, especially as the inflationary environment makes everything more expensive, and Zoom has sought to diversify its product offering, including launching a generative AI assistant.
Investment analysts at Citi changed their view on the NASDAQ-listed business over the weekend, upgrading Zoom from a ‘Sell’ to ‘Hold/Neutral’. Zoom will report its Q3 earnings on Monday.
(5) Can NVIDIA kill the bears? Talking about the inflationary environment, it seems some on Wall Street reckon higher interest rates have worked, inflation will fall and the Fed will only cut going into 2024.
The US central bank last decided to hold interest rates at a range between 5.25 and 5.5% earlier in the month, with the notes of that meeting expected to be published on Tuesday.
It’s a bold hypothesis that the Fed will taper down the rates going forward, but it’s one which has helped fuel a resurgence in technology stocks. A turning point could come on Tuesday when NVIDIA reports its Q3 earnings.
The chip-maker has a mega market cap’ of $1.2 trillion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 119. Apple, by way of comparison, has a market cap’ of $2.96 trillion, but its price-to-earnings ratio is around 30.
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