18 companies to watch in European media

18 companies to watch in European media

When we talk adtech and media innovation much of the media conversation has a US-centric view.  Having spent the last 2 years criss-crossing Europe, I thought it would be interesting to give an view of innovations happening across the European media scene.

So, here are 18 interesting European media companies in no particular order . . .


      Well publicised Dutch startup; a national paywall based on per-article micropayments, offering refunds for unhappy readers. 250,000 signups in 1yr in a country of 16m. No advertisements. The question is - can they roll it out internationally. niuzly.com is another startup with the same model.

      Enthusiastic review

      Sceptical review


      ‘Spotify for magazines’ subscription app from Swedish startup, working with Archant, Future, Haymarket, Time Inc. and Bauer. Bottom seems to be dropping out of this market; publishers will be looking to hold onto the trickle of revenue but find other ways to monetise their content; looking particularly at Facebook as the all-powerful new Google-style frenemy.

      Launch Profile article: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/ppa-backs-swedish-firm-aiming-launch-spotify-digital-magazines-uk

      Website: https://gb.readly.com/

Bauer Venture Partner

      €100m venture capital fund (over 10 years…) from Bauer looking for startups. Many other big groups doing the same thing; Modern Times Group (Sweden) and Mediaset (Italy), Bertelsmann, Reed Elsevier have created funds or invested in specific startups. Axel Springer, for example, invested in AirBnB.

      Press around the launch of Bauer's fund: http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/04/bauer-venture-partners

Plug and Play

      Axel Springer funded incubator in Berlin, onto their sixth cycle, everything from Egyptian grass roots journalism to Uber for massages. Perhaps they need a way to promote their graduates through their media outlets?

     Some context from the A+S website:  http://www.axelspringerplugandplay.com/startups/2015-cycle-6/


      High end journalism in Slovakia - free to air, with a membership club, and no doubt a requirement to start monetising with native.

      Some Context: http://www.storybench.org/a-digital-long-form-experiment-in-slovakia/

      Homepage: http://mono.sk/


      Social / viral news from Lithuania that recently rebranded from Plague - “a content sharing network built entirely on viral principles” - 150k installs in a couple of months. Based on physical proximity via an app. Likely looking for their next pivot since the initial excitement died down.

      Some Context: https://gigaom.com/2015/01/20/plagues-viral-communications-app-infects-150k-in-two-months/

      Homepage: https://plag.com/

De Correspondent & Krautreporter

      Two crowdfunded journalism startups; huge profile, a bit of startup money, no advertising, no apparent long-term business model. 

      De Correspondent (Amsterdam):  Raised $1.7m to launch from 19k backers, takes no advertising on the site https://medium.com/de-correspondent/a-short-guide-to-crowdfunding-journalism-b495ecba710

      KrautReporter (Berlin): Raised €1m euros to launch €5/month subscription, no ads, 17k subscribers

Piano Media

      The Slovakian ‘national paywall’ company, had significant success, recently bought Press+, which is a bigger US paywall system vendor, and worked with Newsweek. Don’t know what kind of ad / native integration they’re doing, or how they use their platform power.

   Some context:   http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/266839/slovakian-piano-media-acquires-press-and-aims-to-take-paid-digital-content-global/


      An Israeli startup which “makes software that analyses webpages and automatically inserts relevant, copyright-free images to accompany the content. Imonomy targets its software at smaller-sized web publishers who have a pool of online content but don’t necessarily have the means to spice it up with illustrations”. Team is ex Yedda (Q&A Engine bought by AOL in 2007) (See also GumGum)

      Context: http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/23/imonomy-seed/

      Homepage: http://imonomy.com/


      From the country that bought you Outbrain and Taboola comes another Israeli content play, founded by the son of PM Ehud Olmert. Went from zero to 40m uniques in six months.  Now with a European HQ, based out of London.

     Some context (interview with founder): http://uk.businessinsider.com/interview-with-playbuzz-ceo-shaul-omert-2015-3


      Dominant Swiss publisher (41% market share). Digital wing has successfully moved into online classifieds and startups like Doodle (scheduling) and Zattoo (TV streaming), now moving into Germany.  Also with a very compelling / interesting hyer-local daily news app 20Minuten.

      Some context: http://www.deutsche-startups.de/2014/07/21/tamedia-digital-deutschland/


      The Buzzfeed of Turkey; content-led social media site with 10m uniques in March 2014. Founded in 2012 by Kaan Kayabalı. Native advertising on the homepage - sponsored listicles.

      Homepage: http://onedio.com/

The Local

      A network of English language websites for expats - Spain, Italy etc - founded by Paul Rapacioli. Buzzfeed-y content, with a clear niche.

    Some context:  http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/10/the-local-a-growing-european-network-of-english-language-news-sites-aims-for-the-expat-crowd/


      Huge Norwegian/Swedish media group that successfully diversified into online classified ads. Titles like Svenska Dagbladet (quality) and Aftonbladet (tabloid) in Stockholm are typically struggling with monetising web traffic and shift towards mobile, half-hearted paywalls.

      Conveniently, here’s their 2015 state of media report, in English: http://schibstedfuturereport.com/


      Barcelona startup. Creates web and advertising optimised versions of existing pages. Seems to be a way to build a large content network. Claims 2bn page views, and is Google certified (?).

      Some Context: http://novobrief.com/marfeel-google/

      Homepage: https://www.marfeel.com/

The Idealist

·       Spanish Buzzfeed-style clone set up by x2 young Spanish entrepreneurs out of their bedrooms.  Publish Spanish language listicles, for example “10 momentos en los que odias y mucho a tus amigas” (translated as ‘10 reasons to really hate your friends’)

·       Homepage: http://theidealist.es

Triboo Media

      Italian media group with interests across a range of different areas, from publishing (via its Leonardo.it), e-commerce (via Triboo Digitale) and programmatic (via PrimeRealTime)

      Company website: http://triboom.it

IMAGE CREDIT: Charles Clegg on Flickr


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