Media and news startup ScoopWhoop has partnered with political news and analysis website Newslaundry to launch a web series called Chase on YouTube, reports Mint. The first episode is titled Demonic Possession: An Inside Story and documents men and women supposedly possessed by spirits. From ScoopWhoop’s YouTube channel, it appears that the company will release the series only on YouTube.
This video indicates that both the companies will work on multiple documentaries in the series, but the number of documentary videos it will release is not known.
The nature of the tie up is also unclear and we’ve written to ScoopWhoop for more details.
Sattvik Mishra, the co-founder of ScoopWhoop, told MediaNama over email that the company has tied up with Newslaundry only for its Chase series, which will have 5 episodes. Mishra said that ScoopWhoop plans to get into regular documentary ‘programming’. By July this year under Chase, it expects to make 6-7 of these monthly. Chase’s first season will have 5 episodes. He also added that Newslaundry was helping the company build a 10 member team for the Chase series which will be on ScoopWhoop’s payroll.
Interestingly, ScoopWhoop will retain all IP and copyrights to the documentaries and will not share any revenues with Newslaundry. ScoopWhoop has a host of videos on its YouTube channel, but interestingly, it also has a series called ScoopWhoop Investigates, under which Chase lies. Under this genre, the company has released multiple 10 minute documentary style videos.
Mishra also said that ScoopWhoop Investigates comes under ScoopWhoop News, and that the company will increase the ‘frequency of content under this vertical’ but is focused on news and current affairs. Chase will be different in that respect, because it won’t necessarily go for news stories.
For Demonic Possession, on face value, it looks like Newslaundry’s reporter Manisha Pande is hosting and reporting on the subject, while being directed by journalist Avalok Langer. The video lists multiple collaborations from an assistant director, camera people, editors, local, music, graphics, animation and executive producers. At the time of writing, the video has over 24,000 views.
ScoopWhoop’s funding: In November, the portal raised $4 million in a round of funding from Kalaari Capital, which it would use to expand ScoopWhoop Talkies, its video production unit. At that time, it claimed to have over 20 million unique visitors with over 70 million page views and 10 million video views per month. In November 2014, ScoopWhoop raised $1.6 million from Bharti Softbank (BSB) in exchange for a 36.5% stake. At the time, BSB said that ScoopWhoop would create content targeted at Indian youth, which it would distribute over its mobile-optimized technology platform to Indian consumers. Starting as a BuzzFeed-like news and entertainment portal in 2013, ScoopWhoop ventured into videos a year ago.
Newslaundry funding and ownership stake: In February, Newslaundry raised an undisclosed round of funding from Omidyar Network, Mahesh Murthy, Vikram Lal, Abhijit Bhandari and Shashank Bhagat (through United India Periodical) in exchange for equity. Newslaundry also disclosed the ownership pattern of the website and following this round of funding, Omidyar Network is the majority shareholder in the company with 18.40% equity share in the company.
Newslaundry also has a satire video series (on YouTube) of its own called Clothesline along with other series like Can you take it, The Cleaners, I Agree and Dhobi Ghat. The website started uploading videos to YouTube 4 years ago and defines its YouTube channel as “News and news on the news. Slants, compromises, biases, praise, brickbats and ‘news-views’ mix ups, but crediting the devil where due. Here nothing is off limits. We say it like it is and appreciate others who do.”
Newslaundry was previously bootstrapped, funded and resourced by its own production company. The company, founded in 2013, also has number of subscriptions and asks readers to contribute to maintain editorial independence. The website also has a podcast called Hafta which focuses on current affairs in India.
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Image Credit: Screen grab from the YouTube video.