Startup of the day: iMedia Revenue
**Company:** iMedia Revenue
**Founders:** Rich Julius, Derek Burke, Chester Regen, Stephen Collins
**What it does:** the company has created a software package that cuts down the cost of online and offline publishing for newspapers and magazines. It also looks at new ways to commercialise newspapers' products online.
**Status:** active, see [website]( http://imediarevenue.com)
**Funding:** currently seeking private funding
For traditional newspaper publishers, there is one over-arching question that hangs in the air: how can a paper bring its operations, efficiently and profitably, online?
To date, very few publishers have cracked it. With the exception of niche products such as The Financial Times or The Wall Street Journalist, newspaper publishers are struggling to master a commercial transition to the web.
That is where a Cork-based startup firm comes in. iMedia Revenue has come up with a system that re-interprets how publishers can address their commercial potential online. The company also has a workflow software suite for newsrooms that has already been adopted by several local newspapers around the country.
“If you look at the way that many newspapers rely on advertising at the moment, it makes no sense,” said Rich Julius, one of the company’s co-founders. “The system used typically comprises of banner ads and a cost-per-impression method which only delivers pennies to the publisher. It’s the lowest performing model.”
Julius realised that there was a fundamental disconnect between what online publications’ actual revenue and their potential revenue.
“Businesses and companies are still spending money on advertising so that’s not the problem,” he said. “So we looked at how to help the news industry open up their advertising streams in a way that banner ads don’t allow.”
One of the systems most favoured by iMedia Revenue is digitising the idea of ‘hyperlocal’ advertising. Hyperlocal ads are based on the notion that newspapers in a tightly defined catchment area have a loyal and identifiable user base, who are highly prized by local businesses.
“You can take a local newspaper, with all the people who are reading it, and build in sponsorship opportunities online,” said Julius. “That might yield €500 a month from an advertiser, which is far more than the equivalently proportioned banner ad might bring in. Couponning is also popular.”
The company, based in Macroom and North Carolina, based much of its proposition on a product that Julius pioneered for Joe Ricketts, the US billionaire founder of Ameritrade. Ricketts launched an online news service called DNAinfo.com, exclusively aimed at Manhattan residents and businesses and which gets about 1.2 million visitors a month (roughly the same as The Irish Times online). Julius was responsible for crafting the publishing and commercial side of the service.
Ireland, said Julius, could be regarded as a single hyperlocal market for national newspapers.
"Almost every newspaper in Ireland is hyperlocal," he said.
"And the idea is to take back local business. People trust the brand of their local paper. But their advertisers have started to move online and newspapers have struggled to follow. And costcutting, although it's part of the mix for any company at different stages, only goes so far in a newspaper."
So far, the company has not taken on any private funding.
"We wanted to get real products and customers out there first before approaching funding sources," said Julius. "That way you don't necessarily have to give a huge chunk of your company away from the start. But we're talking to venture capital firms and angel investors now."
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