One of the most recent startups to rise from the Boston College community is Streak Media. The brainchild of Michael Nardella, BC ’13, Streak Media has recently made the transition from dorm room to office, setting up its operations in downtown Boston.
Streak began in 2011 on campus as a way for Nardella to share BC events and stories with fellow students and friends. Exclusive to BC, the operation was then just called BC Streak—a Twitter feed and a newsletter served to inform Nardella’s small base of subscribers.
After attracting an increasingly large following, the hobby revealed its scaling potential, indicating the prospect of a business opportunity. Nardella and his team then tried their model at NYU, receiving immensely positive feedback that reinforced his suspicions of Streak’s potential.
Three years later, Streak Media is present on 15 campuses, including universities as large as Pennsylvania State and as far away as Stanford. The original ‘BC Streak’ has assumed the role of subsidiary in the larger network of college newsletters under the umbrella title, Streak Media.
Simply put, Streak Media is a daily email newsletter. It is not a content producer. “We’re not competing with The Heights or other school newspapers,” Nardella said. “We’re your best friend for getting views. Whoever is creating content at BC goes in the newsletter.”
Streak does not write its own stories, do its own reporting, or produce any of the stories it links to in its newsletter, though this may change in the future, according to Nardella.
Streak Media is, at its core, information consolidation: a time-saver. Streak becomes a personal information flow controller put toward the end of facilitating information gathering. A daily newsletter delivered to one’s email provides hyperlinks to stories gathered by the Streak team from campus-based, local, and global news sources. For example, a BC subscriber would receive a mix of articles from BC sources such as The Gavel, The Heights, and The Rock that detailed campus headlines or current events at BC.
Just below are the leading national and international stories, followed by sports and other areas of interest. The format is simple: it just includes the headlines and the links to the stories. It is minimalist by design, working toward its goal of an efficient relay of information.
“Many people are intimidated by the prospect of a newsletter,” Nardella said, referring to the common disdain of junk-mail which often dissuades potential subscribers. “But, we’re just here to help you start your day off.”
It takes time to poke around websites looking for relevant news stories, and one is guaranteed to have to visit a multitude of websites to quench the varied informational thirst of the average college student.
Via the Streak daily newsletter, subscribers are updated on the weather, campus events, sports headlines, and world news within a single email—time saved.
According to Nardella, Streak Media is as effective in its time-saving as it is in its quality of information-gathering. This is due to the “curated” nature of the content. Streak Media uses local, on-campus “curators” to cycle through college-specific newspapers to provide the most relevant news stories to its subscribers, according to Nardella.
The local nature of these student curators provides more “organic” selections of news stories for each school in the Streak network. While NYU subscribers can be assured to receive NYU-specific news selected by NYU students, the same goes for Tufts subscribers, as their content will be managed by Tufts’ curators.
Further, the Streak model is responsive. Analytics provide the Streak team with up-to-date information about the preferences of its subscribers. “We’re looking to really nail down our model with these 15 schools,” Nardella said.
Clicked links and skipped links provide the Streak Team with insight to adjust the content of its emails to the specific wants of its readership, according to Nardella.
The Streak model is simple and effective, providing a passive, upgraded method of efficient information-gathering.
Subscription is a free, one-step process of adding your email to the listserv. The daily newsletter that follows provides a certain upgrade to the information-gathering process. “A Twitter presence on all of these campuses is really important too,” Nardella said.
Present on 15 campuses with a growing subscriber base of 11,000 students and alumni and a strong rate of subscriber retention, the Streak team is looking to expand. But, Nardella said, Streak is more focused on its business model.
While other startups may lose themselves in their own expectations, Streak will remain disciplined as it continually works to improve upon its methods of providing the most relevant information to its users.
Featured Image by Streak Media