Newzbid app looks to reward army of amateur journalists with cash from media firms

newzbid_logoThe developer of a new app which aims to reward people with cash if their stories, videos and photographs are picked up by the media has admitted the “value of content” must be recognised if the venture is to succeed.

Mark Orval has spent 18 months, and $250,000, working on Newzbid, an app that will host a range of content uploaded by subscribers that can then be purchased by media companies.

He said the aim is to reward the countless number of amateur journalists and photographers who, armed with smartphones, are currently posting on social media platforms but earn nothing if the content is used by media outlets.

Orval, former managing director of Melbourne-based IT firm Digital Motorworks, said the idea will not only earn cash for users but provide media companies with easy access to content they might otherwise miss. It will also provide a platform for content that “may never see the light of day”.

News outlets will be alerted to any new content that is uploaded or they can search the database and buy content through a conventional shopping cart system.

“The whole concept is built around media companies increased reliance on user generated content (UCG), 72 per cent of whom use social media content in their news reporting processes,” Orval said. “The pitch to media companies is that it will be a real time, cost effective alternative to their conventional solutions of sending out freelances who cost a fortune. In any case, where do you send them?”

He said the intention isn’t to replace current practices but to complement them.

“There is an ever increasing number of smartphone users who are everywhere all of the time, capturing content that journalists and photographers just aren’t able to,” he said.

“We will provide people with the ability to divert newsworthy content from conventional social media to Newzbid. At that point we will approve or reject the content, put a price on it and push it out to global media.”

The release of the app comes as concern grows at the rise of amateur journalism, with US stalwart Bob Garfield issuing a warning at the Association of Data Driven Marketing and Advertising summit in July that it will lead to a splintered industry and a reduction in quality journalism.

Orval admitted he faces a challenge trying to convince media firms to start paying for content they have so far been sourcing for free but added there is growing realisation that content “cannot be free forever”. In addition, smartphone-using amateur reporters are increasingly not content just to get a Facebook like or a retweet, but want financial rewards.

“Their contribution through capturing content does have a value and the fact that media companies use such content to attract subscribers, viewers and advertisers is slowly sinking into people,” he said. “They are saying, ‘hey, that’s right, where is the reward for me’? A Facebook like or a retweet is longer acceptable.

“Is it going to happen overnight? No, nothing does and if I can’t change habits and have people realise and recognise the value of content then yes, it’s a potentially flawed model.”

As a rough guide, photographs and stories may cost around $20 – more for videos – although Orval stressed the price was dependent on the content. The cost is per URL, rather than per company “so it wouldn’t be $20 for news Limited, it would cost $20 for each publication”, he said.

The app, which went live last months, has “several thousands subsrcibers”, said Orval, who will begin talking to media firms over the next few weeks.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.