Nat Miller; Jihyun Kim; Cody Simons
High Concept Statement:
Fantasy sports for the news
Need or Demand:
The American public has a problem. Despite the advent of powerful new technologies that make information more readily available than ever before in human history, Americans remain woefully misinformed. Think of any late night TV sketch in which random Americans mistake the most basic facts about our country and it becomes clear that misinformation is a given cultural meme. The basic problem is that while the tools exist for Americans to stay informed, the incentives and rewards are currently lacking. While many Americans use news aggregators to try and efficiently organize the news, the incentives to fully digest and then follow up on the relevant news stories simply do not exist – the news is not something to learn and engage with but rather a way to kill time on the morning commute.
Product / Service / Solution:
). Tealeaf will expand the success of fantasy sports to all populations and all areas of interest. Our product will allow players to join leagues and contests with their friends and then predict the outcomes of all the stories that they follow in sports, entertainment, and current events news. Every few days (or more, as demand dictates) the players in the league will receive a group of questions along with several relevant news stories – for example, who will be announced as members of Trump’s cabinet? When will the next Syrian cease-fire be signed between the United States and Russia? Who will die on this week’s episode of Westworld? By giving users a stake in the outcome of news stories (as their ultimate scores are tied to how well they make predictions each week), we hope to help create a more informed and engaged public. Quite simply, it’s fantasy sports for everything.
Tealeaf allows users to interact with the news in a totally unique and wholly more informative way. By introducing competition to reading and predicting the news, Tealeaf allows users to gain a deeper understanding of and engagement with all the stories they follow in their lives. Furthermore, Tealeaf provides value to news providers struggling to reach readers in a high paced, social media dominated culture.
Our primary competition are existing fantasy sports platforms as well as news aggregators such as the Skimm. Our solution is preferable to fantasy sports as fantasy sports are inherently limited by their focus on sports, by expanding the use of this gaming mechanism to all stories in sports, current events, and entertainment news we will reach a far wider percentage of the population than traditional fantasy sports games. We are preferable to traditional news aggregators as not only do we provide highly focused and aggregated news to our users, we also give them a stake in using it that fosters better engagement with the relevant stories.
The beauty of Tealeaf is that it is not just something that consumers need and want; it also has the potential to be a highly valuable marketing and engagement tool for traditional news organizations struggling to attract readers. Our key partnerships will be with news networks that will provide the stories for every question that we send out – for example The Economist or The New York Times will be able to pay to provide news articles for stories on politics or world news while People Magazine or Entertainment Weekly will provide stories on pop culture questions. It is no secret that traditional news organizations are struggling to maintain their readerships and with it their place in the market. Yet the decline of traditional news organizations is not necessarily because of the quality of the news but rather the way in which it engages a new generation of tech-savvy users who live in a fundamentally different world from the one that produced and necessitated the traditional media sources that are now becoming obsolete. By harnessing the captivating power of the fantasy sports mechanism with the high quality news and analysis that stands at the heart of sophisticated media organizations, Tealeaf will allow users and news agencies to interact in a totally unique, dynamic, and profitable way.