The Guardian Media Group (GMG) has contributed to a £1.3m funding round for London-based creator network Vidsy, a startup that helps brands like Unilever and Barclays connect with young talent to create mobile-first video campaigns.
The publisher has invested an undisclosed sum in the tech startup. The move follows on from it lending its backing to incubator outfit Founders Factory in 2016, to which it is an exclusive media partner.
As part of its accelerator deal with Founders Factory, the Guardian has been forging ties with disruptors in the industry to help it unearth fresh publishing models via innovation. As well as working with Vidsy the paper has been collaborating with tech platform Flourish which lets brands string together live data feeds to create data visualisations, and People.io – an upstart designed to give individuals ownership of their data.
From 2015 to 2016 GMG ensured its worst ever financial results, announcing a pre-tax loss of £173m despite growing its readership to 155 million year-on-year; so while the trend of agencies working with startups is nothing new, publishers muscling in on the game makes sense given that traditional newspaper business models have paid the price for being slow to the advancements in digital.
Vidsy crowd-sources the production of micro-video content for brands, with a view to enabling them to develop a direct connections with a millennial audience and drive engagement online. Other stakeholders now include: Delin Capital; Coral Reef; Force Over Mass, and Ascension Ventures.
Gerard Keeley, Vidsy’s co-founder and chief executive, said the company wants to “disrupt the traditional advertising agencies and video production models that are struggling to stay relevant in a world of mobile, social and video.