Read all about it!: Croydon Tech City’s new media startup boom

By - Wednesday 19th February, 2014

Croydon Tech City founder, Jonny Rose, takes a look at the increasing number of media startups that are forgoing other parts of London to set up in Croydon

A year ago, I wrote about the five forces that were resuscitating Croydon’s fortunes; tech, food, art, cycling and environmentalism.

Today, I’d like to consider adding another one to the mix: media.

Remarkably, in the period of 2011-2013, Croydon saw more new media companies established or relocating to the area than any other London borough.

Whilst we’re no Fleet Street, the newest media startups which now call Croydon Tech City home are exhibiting much of the panache and innovation that is challenging traditional media incumbents. These include:

Croydon Radio was started by Timothy Longhurst in 2012, and serves as an internet radio station for the local community. Operating out of Croydon’s popular Matthews Yard, Croydon Radio plays host to over thirty unique radio shows including environmentalist Andrew Dickinson’s show ‘Green Croydon’, concerning the planet’s future and what the borough’s residents can do about it, and ‘In The Loop’, with PR consultant Bieneosa Ebite, a talk show looking at Croydon’s business, politics and current affairs.

Croydon TV was established in 2010 and started broadcasting a year later, providing internet television to the local area. The company is based at AMP House, and whilst wholly-owned by a US consortium the station is represented by a fleet of directors and presenters who service the local community. 

Recently, Croydon saw the official launch of West Croydon’s Future of Croydon publication, a sixteen-page magazine started by Ashley Wyllie as “a platform dedicated to promoting the positive side of Croydon”. Hard on Future of Croydon’s heels is CDN Magazine – a lurid creative arts ‘fanzine’ by photographer and mohicanned neo-punk Wesley Jordan which is due to be published around Easter. Wesley’s hope is for his publication to document and profile Croydon’s arts movement – particularly the underground scenes, artists and characters which make up many of Croydon’s curious subcultures.

Chukwuma Ogbobie is founder of Tha One – an urban youth magazine which covers topics such as music, tech and fashion – and has been built out of his home in Norbury. Although the website is not much to look at, the magazine has a print offering in twelve universities and is sold onsite at twenty-eight local SMEs.

VideoGamer is Europe’s largest independent videogame media site, started ten years ago by Adam McCann whilst doing a software engineering course at Brighton University. VideoGamer moved to Croydon in 2012 and now has plans to expand into other markets and media verticals (you can read more about Adam’s plans in this Citizen interview).

The year-old Croydon Citizen commenced a monthly print run in December 2013.

The Croydon Citizen is, perhaps, the most impressive new media startup success of recent years.

Established by bearded Croydon-enthusiast, James Naylor – who first came to prominence as post-riot tour guide ‘Croydon Tours’ – the site began in November 2012 as a platform for ‘citizen journalists’. Incredibly, in one year The Croydon Citizen has garnered so much support that the team (which has grown to five editors and over thirty regular contributors) was able to start a monthly print run in December 2013.

Where else in London is there similar incidence of newly established media startups – print, digital, radio and tv – to what is happening in Croydon Tech City?

As well as new media platforms emerging Croydon, there is a wave of startups that are architecting new technologies to support the boom.

These include DWP Media Suite which serves as a database-cum-newswire which PRs can use to disseminate press releases and journalists can use to source stories and subject matter experts. The Media Suite is used by nearly 60,000 PRs and journalists. Another example, is Chew.TV,a live-videostreaming service that enables anybody to set up a video feed and broadcast from wherever they are.

Quite simply, Croydon Tech City has been a boon for media, whether it be covering it and using the ecosystem as a source for stories, or actually building a business around it. The rise of new media startups in the area is an incredible testament to the reality that economic confidence is returning to the borough as a result of the continued efforts of Croydon Tech City’s burgeoning tech startup community.

That it’s happening here – rather than in the Brixtons or Barnets of this world – is no surprise at all. In a capital where traditional media is being assailed from every angle from new media entrants and disrupted commercial models, Croydon Tech City has intentionally created an atmosphere where content-based businesses can thrive.

And, that’s a news story worth telling. Again. And again. And again.

The next #Croydon #TechCity event takes place on Thursday 20th February at Croydon Conference Centre. To attend, please sign up as ‘attending’ here or  to confirm your attendance.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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