Millennials now have their very own Murdoch. James McLeod, grandson of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is taking on his pop-pop with a news app aimed at the digital generation. Clippet is an audio news service designed to deliver news and insights in short, sweet blasts. “I wanted something that would give me short summaries of news I was interested in, which would let me dive in deep if I wanted,” says McLeod.
According to the Clippet team, an historic lack of accessibility, even among a proliferation of devices and platforms, is the main reason younger people don’t engage with the news in the way that their parents and grandparents do. “We’ve spent a year developing how we produce editorial content,” says co-founder and editor-in-chief Grace Regan. “A lot of what we listened to on broadcast hadn’t changed for 40 years. There’s a set way of presenting news in audio and it’s time for it to be updated.”
Regan believes that short-form audio is a “natural way” for Clippet to reach an audience. And she may have a point. Brevity has led to success for other news outfits; NowThisNews carved out a healthy niche with its six-second news stories on Vine. And the popularity of audio content has been boosted recently with the off-the-charts success of NPR’s ‘Serial’, a true-crime podcast which secured a second season after proving highly addictive with listeners.
Clippet may hit a snag, however, when it comes to wooing advertisers, as Shona Ghosh points out: “Mobile video is the fastest growing digital ad format, with spend growing almost 200% to £63.9 million in the first half of last year,” she says. “That doesn’t necessarily bode well for Clippet’s business model, with the start-up hoping to provide sponsored audio content to brands and publishers by the end of 2015. Rather than adopting pre-roll formats used by Spotify and other audio services, the idea is to produce editorialised sponsored audio content.”
Clippet will be seeking funding in April – although presumably not from granddad.