News launches ‘Captivate’ storytelling platform

A long-form interactive piece recently published on The Australian’s website called ‘Cinderella Man’, is the first major feature to use News Corp Australia’s new ‘Captivate’ platform.

‘Cinderella Man’ is the story of boxer Alex Leapai, who is currently preparing for a fight that could see him crowned Australia’s first world heavyweight boxing champion.

The platform used to publish it, ‘Captivate’, allows for highly-interactive and diverse content to be integrated into a single article – combining writing, photography, video, audio and graphics – and allows for consumption on desktop, tablet or mobile devices.

News Corp Australia’s head of innovation Mark Drasutis said that the platform offered unique commercial benefits for the organisation and its news brand.

“[‘Captivate’ is] showcasing a different way that News is presenting its content to customers, which obviously is about engagement,” he said.

Mr Drasutis said that the increased viewing time spent on a page for multimedia, interactive pieces is appealing to commercial clients. He said it also allows News more potential to co-join an advertising partner’s message with the right story and commercialise ‘Captivate’ stories with the right brands.

Content strategy manager for The Australian Nic Hopkins, said that the key difference between publishing a long-form multimedia piece and a typical magazine feature, is that they need to be storyboarded from the start and have a sophisticated planning process behind them.

“You need to walk the audience through them as if you’re conceptualising a film and you have to go from chapter to chapter. It’s a forced narrative, it’s a forced journey through the story much as a print story is, but you’ve got so many more elements that you need to factor into it,” he said.

“So in the process of it you go; here’s some text, here’s a word, here’s a graphic, there’s some video here that’s going to move straight into a transition into some more words.

“Some stories just don’t lend themselves to that kind of experience, but some of them really, really do and I think that’s what with ‘Cinderella Man’ really sprung out with us. We just thought ‘that is a story we can tell in so many different ways’.”

Christine Middap, editor of The Weekend Australian Magazine, where ‘Cinderella Man’ was published in print, said that the digital ‘Captivate’ story is modelled around the print story.

“The story is always absolutely central to what we’re doing and then everything else has to follow the narrative of the story,” she said.

“So we’re not putting the video and everything above the story. [The story] is central to what we do and then we weave in the assets that will enhance the storytelling.”

‘Captivate’ was developed by News Corp as a company-wide platform and will be used for a diverse range of news and commercial projects across the organisation’s brands.

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