by Fred Godlash, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire
Stockr is a sophisticated social network for the investment community that is making a name for itself with investors, analysts and public companies.
Earlier in the month Stockr hosted a panel with thought-leaders from the technology and financial industries to discuss Twitter’s potential as a public company. The panel was a huge success with numerous followers having the chance to interact and learn from the intuitive forum.
This week Stockr is doing it again with a panel discussing The Future of Television moderated by CNNMoney’s Julianne Pepitone. The panel brings together thought-leaders from CBS, Lionsgate, Luminari Capital, Roku and Maven Research to discuss the technologies and trends that are shaping the rapidly changing television industry.
We sat down with Stockr CEO and co-founder Vinny Jindal to find out more about Stockr and the upcoming panel.
Is it important for Stockr to do educational panels? Why is it important to have this voice to talk to investors?
Our mission at Stockr is to help people make better investment decisions. We bring people together who have deep experience and expertise in different industries and different companies – that is really core to the whole idea behind Stockr.
We feel like people’s options for really generating a deep understanding of companies, often that they becoming shareholders of, is limited. There are very few opportunities, not only to see what an industry expert might say about a company, but to even engage that expert, ask your individual questions and round out your specific knowledge base so you can make an informed decision on that stock. These panels give us an opportunity to bring together experts on a specific industry or a specific topic.
Do you feel the forums are a better way of discovery than traditional media sources?
The current process is that journalists have been elected by the masses to be the arbiters of information. The process is they tap their network to get insights for that topic from a limited number of experts and then cut that down to the character limits they have been given. The sea of information that is given has a very narrow passage to get to the investors who would benefit from that information. Stockr is an open platform where experts can layout the fullness of their thoughts. They can communicate not just sound bites, but truly a thesis or a really rich point of view and have that be part of an interactive dialogue.
How do you choose experts for the forum and how do they benefit from participating?
We first go to our Stockr user base and then we go to people who are supportive of the company. Stockr’s current user base has representatives from almost every industry imaginable. A journalist who is interested in a topic can come to Stockr and see who is posting on different companies and then engage that person and invite them to be a panelist.
Beyond that we are lucky to have a lot of smart people who are supportive of the company and we reach out to them based on their expertise. We have found that most experts are really happy to participate.
Panel experts can interact with their colleagues on a really high level. As an example, for “The Future of Television” panel, it is not often that you are going to see a board member from Roku interacting with an executive from CBS and a strategic executive from Best Buy.
Why did you choose the subject of the future of television? Were you inspired by an event or was it topical?
Well it is partly topical – it is something that is easy for everyone to recognize because people every day are changing their TV habits using HBO Go or Netflix or watching a show on Hulu. It is also an important topic for the markets because it is apparent that the fortunes of these companies are changing dramatically. The future is kind of unknown and since the market is forward-looking, we are helping people understand what the future of television is and therefore what their prospects are for companies like Comcast, Netflix and CBS. I think it helps them make better investment decisions today.
Another reason we decided to do the future of television was that CBS is one of the companies that has taken over their Stockr page and has been using it to communicate. The information they have posted on Stockr is genuinely fascinating. For example, there is a lot of handwriting on the wall if you are a shareholder of traditional media and traditional television – shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad have gained a lot of popularity – there is an ascendency of popularity for TV shows outside the big four networks.
That would naturally cause shareholders of CBS or other companies to say, “Wait a minute, am I holding on to stock that has a pretty bleak growth prospect? Are these alternative sources of TV programing eating their lunch?” CBS, knowing that this is a concern as they heard it from their institutional shareholders and from their retail shareholders, was able to address this head on.
They were able to point to the fact that the Breaking Bad’s series finale received 6.6 million viewers yet CBS tends to cancel shows with less than 7 million viewers. What they were able to convey to their institutional shareholders or their “sell side” analyst is that statements like “Breaking Bad is threatening the growth of companies like CBS,” is patently false and CBS was able, using Stockr, to address that in a community. So that kind of information that has come across from CBS has really helped our members to understand where television is headed and stimulated a full interest in the topic – that is why we decided to do a full-blown panel on it.
What kind of impact do you think you are having on the IR Community? Is anyone doing what you are doing?
No other company has a product that can facilitate this sort of dialogue on this topic. In terms of impact, we are very clearly producing the best content available on the internet. The more investors that choose to come to Stockr and view the content – the more investors we will impact.
What we are also doing is creating examples that help public companies see that they have the opportunity to take this enormous volume of information that they are marketing everyday – on the phone and by email - and put that online. Leaving that out on IR campaigns is really overlooking possibly the most powerful tool they have in their arsenal.
Are users accountable for their comments?
Stockr requires a real identity to participate and this is different from other social platforms that let users post anonymous comments. You can have a shouting match with someone online but if you are anonymous there are no consequences to your words. So when you force people to use their own name that conversation becomes real. IROs are going to want to engage with those audiences because they are meaningful conversations.
Why do you think the investment community does not embrace social media?
I think the words “social media” have unnecessarily scared companies, and specifically investment professionals, but if we called Stockr an online interactive technology that allowed investor relations professionals to stay better connected to their institutional investor base and a high-quality group of retail investors – IROs would say, “Where do I sign up?” Investors don’t want to just read the press release – they want to comment on it and they don’t want to just comment on it but they want to have a conversation about it. The quality of that conversation increases based on the quality of the participants and their authenticity of their identity. Stockr provides that platform for the company to tell their story.
The idea of investor relations using social media isn’t an idea of something being used in the future, it is happening now. The sooner companies get on board, the better they will be at telling their story instead of having their competitors tell it for them.
The Future of Television is as part of an ongoing educational series co-sponsored by investor network Stockr and Business Wire. Members can engage with the panelists by posting their questions and sharing their own views. If you would like to join the discussion please visit www.stockr.com