Startup solution to the challenge of modern journalism


By AGSM Jun 5, 2017 

Serial entrepreneur and AGSM alumnus Phil Hayes-St Clair has recently joined Australian-based technology venture inkl to lead their global expansion and increase revenue for the start-up.

With the prevalence of ‘fake news’ and ‘click bait’ dominating the news cycle, inkl is a mobile platform that gives readers the opportunity to access and support purely factual journalism. “Advertiser-paid journalism is coming to an end,” says Phil. “And inkl provides the industry with a new, sustainable business model.”

The inkl model, similar to Spotify, is a subscription-based media portal which gives its users access to premium online content while also supporting publishers to sustain their revenue – in turn helping them maintain the quality of their work. “We believe that good journalism is a prerequisite for a healthy and functioning society,” says Phil. “And that it’s worth paying for.”

His instinct is proving right, with inkl seeing a 15% conversion rate of people moving from the free to paid product.
“This is higher than the conversion rate of online news, which indicates that people have a strong interest in paying for high quality news,” says Phil.

So how does inkl work? So far, it partners with 36 of the most trusted global news outlets. Their leading stories are delivered in a morning bulletin to its subscriber base – which already spans across 184 countries. These outlets include the Guardian (globally), Washington Post, New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Al Jazeera and the Atlantic.

Access to the daily bulletins is free, but those wanting an ad-free and customisable experience can choose a pre-paid option – 10 cents per article, or $15 a month. Both plans grant only-premium access, providing a quick and easy way to read content that would usually be paywall-protected. “As someone who enjoys consuming news, I think it is such a compelling proposition to just pay once to get access to premium content,” says Phil.

Recently they’ve also added inklPay to their service. This is designed to support smaller publishers and independent writers, whose work can be drowned out in the advertisement-driven environment.“That’s a whole other faction of the information pool,” says Phil. “There are a lot of deeply undervalued bloggers and freelance journalists out there creating niche, marvellous pieces, but with the current way that advertising runs it’s really hard to find it. Until now.”

inkPay is a micropayment plugin for independent journalists to add to their blogs or websites, giving them the opportunity to drive revenue on a pay per view basis through the inkl platform.“Our vision is to change the way people place value on quality information,” says Phil. “I think supporting independent writers through inklPay will help us set this new precedent.”

Helping people realise their potential is a huge motivator for Phil, who is an avid entrepreneur supporter. As Associate Adjunct Professor (Entrepreneurship) at AGSM, he also takes great pride in being able to pay forward his learnings from his own ventures. At the same time, he’s also excited to be involved in taking inkl to its next level.

"There are so many people who come into the world to make a difference, but don't really understand how to make that become reality,” he says. “I love finding a way to help people deliver their vision.”

In this case, it’s honouring the delivery of factual news to influence a more informed society. Head to to try a new way of experiencing the news that matters.

Find out more about Phil Hayes-St Clair here.

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