By ELIZABETH JENSEN
Can the nascent entrepreneurial ideas bouncing around Silicon Valley help reinvent public media?
Matter Ventures, a start-up accelerator that will provide four months of financial and logistical support for budding media entrepreneurs, will be unveiled Monday by its partners: KQED, a public television and radio station operator; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; and the Public Radio Exchange, known as PRX.
KQED, based in San Francisco, and the Knight Foundation are each investing $1.25 million in the initial $2.5 million fund and will have an equity stake in any projects that become viable businesses. PRX, based in Cambridge, Mass., is contributing strategic and management support. The project was announced a year ago as a PRX endeavor to be financed by Knight, before KQED became an investor.
While the partners would love to find the next Google, KQED, which just had two years of record-setting revenue, does not expect to get rich from the venture, John Boland, KQED’s president, said in a telephone interview.
Instead, Mr. Boland said, he is looking for ideas, whether new ways to distribute and share content, raise money or allow KQED’s audience to “engage more deeply with the content and with others.”
The goal is to help KQED reinvent itself in an era where its television ratings have been steadily declining and its radio audience is flat, he said. Broadcast audiences have stagnated even as KQED’s online and mobile audiences have boomed. Demand for its increased offering of local and regional news has been strong as commercial newspapers and television stations have cut back.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.