We sat down with our CEO, Lindsay Stewart, to discuss her journey from the challenging business of producing news to creating an award-winning video sourcing platform. She shares how the idea for Stringr came about and how the solution has now evolved beyond news to serve customers from all markets. We also learn how brands can benefit from the tools broadcasters use to quickly source original video.
Lindsay, you started your career as a broadcast news producer. What was that like?
I spent much of my career as a broadcast news producer for national networks - ABC, Fox and Bloomberg. My day-to-day was all about getting important stories told. I consumed local newspapers every morning to find interesting stories on the local level that would have national appeal. I traveled with presidential candidates. You name it, I probably did it.
It was gratifying work, but also challenging and - often - grueling. Most days, getting the exact piece of footage to tell the best story felt like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I found myself thinking that there must be a better way, and that question stuck with me.
Is this how you came up with the idea for Stringr?
The difficulty of sourcing video quickly - and from a diverse geographic area - never left me. Even my projects at business school led me back to thinking about how to solve this problem. And then it hit me. Broadcasters have always relied upon freelance videographers - or stringers as they were called in the newsgathering world - but it was often hard to find reliable (and good) people when you needed them. I wanted to not only make it easy to get video from videographers who were already in that specific location and who could be mobilized in an instant, but also develop it as an end-to-end SaaS solution - so all the video sourcing, transfer, and management would be centralized in the cloud and integrate with any broadcast or production workflow.
Stringr looks at the actual video content as the true first step in a remote production workflow.
Exactly. Most remote production solutions look at how to manage the production of a video from remote locations - but nobody was looking at how to actually create the video content. The assumption is always made that you have a videographer already out in the field to capture the video. But this isn't always the case. Rather than having to manage how to get your crew to a location in time and without major expense, Stringr gets you a resource who is already there, already connected to the platform, already skilled at getting the quality video needed.
How has the platform evolved since you launched?
In almost 10 years, hundreds of broadcasters from international media to local newsrooms, are using our platform on a daily basis. Stringr is part of their workflow when planning their stories and for breaking news and weather events. We have evolved the platform to include automated video sourcing for our clients such as our integration with the National Weather Service to instantly activate our videographers to capture video content based on severe weather alerts. We also provide live pool feeds from around the world based on the AP calendar and emerging news stories. But most importantly, we continue to add features that allow our customers to enhance, edit and publish their content faster and easier.
Can you tell us more about these features?
Sure thing! We have added features like Dolby audio enhancement, transcription and even caption editing all in one place. We have editing tools allow for the quick production of videos and then we've added easy distribution so you can share with to another station, push to broadcast, or stream on social media. Our customers now upload their own content too. This way they can have those assets ready and easily searchable for future production needs. And this is why we quickly realized that other marketers will benefit from these tools too!
Wait, isn’t Stringr a news-focused company?
Well, that’s how we started. But think about it this way: news media is easily the most challenging testing ground for a video platform. Journalists need high-quality footage from myriad locations to tell bold stories quickly and effectively - and they need it yesterday. If you can create a service that ticks all those boxes for such a demanding user as a news producer, then it can work for everyone else. The Stringr platform was fire-hardened in the news world and now we’re tailoring it for other markets.
And that is where Iconiq comes in.
Yes. We realized that brands and creatives also need help with video sourcing. Every company today is a video company. Marketers have a crushing demand for new video content and don't always have the time - or budget - to schedule a production team. Sound familiar? Businesses constantly need to get footage of their products, or their services being used in real-world scenarios. And they don't want to rely on unbranded stock video clips. Now they can source original video content - from anywhere - and get it back within hours stead of days or weeks.
Businesses also need their video marketing solutions to be easy - so that anyone on the team can contribute and collaborate. And with teams in diverse locations, this is even more paramount.
So, we made several optimizations to the Stringr video platform specific for small business, agencies, corporate enterprises and content creators - all leveraging our core solution for video sourcing, cross-team collaboration, editing tools, and asset management.
You recently announced that Iconiq is available in closed beta. What does that mean if someone is interested?
We are so excited that we are currently accepting beta applications from customers of all sizes. Iconiq is great for any type of company or video content creator. Our beta clients include Google, Forum Brands, Epoca, Zillow, Warner Media, and MGM. If anyone is ready to leverage Iconiq, I invite them to visit us online and apply today!