We grabbed Robert Strand, VP of Sales at 7Mountains, for a quick chat during IBC2019—to find out how his new company will transform the traditional newsroom.
Robert, good to see you. How have you been?
All is well, thank you. A lot has happened this last year! I started a new company called 7Mountains. Of course, based in Bergen, between the seven mountains around Bergen. We have built DiNA, a web-based tool for journalists that focuses on story-centric workflows and collaboration. We have been working on this for about one and a half years.
What do you mean by story-centric workflow?
Traditional newsroom systems are built for creating stories for linear TV, where journalists works in a rundown view and build their news stories for a specific event or news show.
Today, a story needs to be shared across multiple platforms, and we’ve built a tool that helps the journalist do that. With DiNA we have taken a step back to focus on the story creation, regardless of where the stories will be published in the end. We have built a storytelling tool, that makes it easy to access news feeds, find related images and videos, collaborate with colleagues and publish on multiple platforms.
Can you clarify that in terms of market and customers?
For now, traditional broadcasters, news and sports. We signed our first deal with a broadcaster in Denmark, TV 2/Fyn. They are very ambitious, very forward-leaning; they asked themselves, what would the ideal workflow look like if they could put journalists and storytelling first, and technology second… Based on that, we started figuring out how to solve the different problems to build as efficient workflow as possible, and, together with Mediability, we will deliver a cloud-based newsroom for them, with DiNA at the heart of the journalist’s workflow.
So, what is the workflow behind your product?
A journalist today needs to work in a number of different tools—for some, as many as 60-70 tools during one day! News gathering, fact checking, story creation and editing, finding related images and videos, preparing versions for all the various publishing platforms requires switching between many systems. With DiNA, they can create, collaborate and publish to all platforms from one single tool. We even use a bit of AI to help prepare the text for the different platforms.
So, is this purely about text?
No, stories are told with text, images, video and interactive elements. DiNA is the tool that ties all of these together and integrates with your favourite system for videos and images, for news feeds, for graphics, for automation, enabling a workflow for publishing to all platforms.
And by all platforms, that would be Facebook and Twitter…
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, WeChat, TikTok, Tumblr, and Messenger, online TV sites , VOD and live streaming channels, online gaming sites, television main channels, niche channels, online news sites… I can go on and on. The list is endless and that is the challenge that content producers face today.
Is all of this available in DiNA today?
We are adding features every day, including wider and wider support for destination platforms. Also, in the system you can build your own “drivers” for different destinations. So, if you want to add another social media platform, you could build that within our tool…
So, I can create a story and plan for it to appear on Twitter first, then on my 6 o’clock news show, then on Instagram and then maybe on YouTube the next day?
Yes, this is exactly how it works.
And… with YouTube, you can assign a video file from some MAM and it would upload at a specific time, right?
Exactly. For related videos, DiNA integrates with for example Mimir, a cloud video production tool, that is created by our sister company Mjoll.
Using AI, Mimir provides a list of recommended videos to your stories in DiNA. We work closely with Mimir developers to offer an integrated solution that utilizes AI from giants such as AWS, Google AI, IBM Watson and other AI providers, and you will see a lot more AI and machine learning features being added as we move forward.
What are your plans for the future?
The next months we will of course focus a lot on our first roll-out to TV 2/Fyn, but also continue to add features and integrations and improve the user experience in DiNA. At this year’s IBC show we’ve had a lot of traffic on our booth, with lots of demonstrations and discussions with potential customers. This has given us valuable input on what to focus on next for new features, so now it’s all about focus and implementation!
Perfect. So you’re happy with the show?
Yeah. It’s been good. Coming here as a start-up can be a challenge. We have the benefit of having worked in the broadcast industry for many years and also with successfully building media technology companies like Mosart. Many of our contacts have been curious about what we are up to and really wanted to see DiNA at the show. This resulted in busy days from morning to late nights; but all good fun and extremely valuable for us! The entire 7Montains team have worked so hard for the DiNA launch and we are really allowed to pat each other’s backs and be proud.