Things Move Fast: Introducing McClatchy New Ventures and McClatchy Studios

by Andrew Pergam, McClatchy’s VP of Video and New Ventures

Four years ago, when we set out on this adventure to better incorporate video into our DNA, we were laser-focused on getting our 30 news organizations into the video game.

Fast-forward to today, and we have hundreds of millions of video views across a variety of digital platforms each year, and video producers in newsrooms all over the country. It was all accomplished under the internal brand of The Video Lab.

As the word “lab” implies, we’ve been hypothesizing, experimenting and then scaling our results. We’ve also taken on more than just video, with podcasting, long-form episodic programming, and smart-speaker news delivery.

While that ethos of experimentation with purpose will continue to thrive, we’ve outgrown the name.

Today we’re introducing McClatchy Studios and McClatchy New Ventures.

McClatchy New Ventures is focused on what’s next. We’re committed to build and sustain storytelling through innovation and investment, internally and externally.

We’re doing that in two ways immediately:

First, McClatchy New Ventures Lab (the space formerly known as Video Lab West) will officially open in our company’s hometown of Sacramento next week. This lab is dedicated to focusing on emerging technology and immersive storytelling, with a number of key partners already in the wings ready to collaborate.

Here we:

  • Experiment — testing new narrative formats on new platforms
  • Collaborate — inside the company and with partners throughout the industry
  • Execute — turning our ideas into sustainable and scalable businesses

We’re building the team now and will very soon announce the first Storytellers in Residence cohort. It’s on the train line to the Bay Area and easily accessible from Southern California — and we’ll be hosting industry events in no time.

We’re continuing to make strategic investments in seed and early-stage startups though the McClatchy New Ventures Fund. We remain focused on investing in immersive video, publisher technology and the intersection of content, community and commerce.

In just the last few years, our investments have seen success with recent acquisitions, plus positive effects in cultivating partnerships and exerting leadership in industries important to McClatchy.

Overall, we believe McClatchy New Ventures builds upon the learning that innovation is best played as a team sport.

The other big news today: As we continue to develop serialized, nonfiction storytelling for streaming platforms, we are launching those efforts under the McClatchy Studios brand.

We’re taking this opportunity to tell locally-relevant stories that resonate nationally. We’ve found compelling ways to embrace everything storytelling can be — inspiring, motivating, entertaining, revelatory — and package it in formats that reach new audiences.

This work encompasses projects like Titletown, TX that currently appears on Facebook Watch, with plans evolving on other shows to launch in coming months across a variety of other platforms.

McClatchy Studios will also bring together podcasts from across the country, our work on smart speakers and ultimately an emerging brand of live events.

This year, my charge to the entire team has been: Go beyond. Go beyond our existing audiences. Go beyond our traditional advertisers. Go beyond the near future and into the next future. This begins our journey.

We’re proud of what McClatchy stands for today — independent journalism and more than 160 years of storytelling expertise. McClatchy New Ventures and McClatchy Studios represent exciting areas for the company as we continue to dedicate ourselves to shaping what’s ahead.