Knoxville Media Spotlight – NewsBreak: A Guest Blog by Kelly Hastings

In this video, watch Bob Bradley’s Power Pitch from Startup Day 2014, and then segue into his excellent presentation about NewsBreak and its Knoxville roots.  Enjoy!

How do you spend the five minutes it takes to fill up at the pump? Washing your car, reflecting on your day’s activities, or just idly standing?  Now, thanks to Knoxville-based media and merchandising company NewsBreak, you can catch up on local news and weather instead of restlessly shifting back and forth while contemplating what you’re going to cook for dinner.  NewsBreak capitalizes on the few minutes consumers spend replenishing their tanks by advertising relevant convenience store merchandise to customers after engaging them with local media content.  All of the content is delivered via screens installed directly on the pumps.

Entrepreneur, KEC MediaWorks mentor, and President/CEO Bob Bradley describes NewsBreak as a programmatic merchandising platform that delivers the “right message at the right time in the right place to the right people.”  The science behind the company is housed in its proprietary software, which uses Census and demographic data to create product playlists based on a variety of different variables, including, geographic location, temperature, time of day, age, gender, and income level.  For example, if you are filling up on your morning commute, you are likely to see an ad for breakfast biscuits; if you are filling up on a sweltering summer day, you may see an ad for a refreshing Coca-Cola. In addition, the software provides the retailer with a custom sales data analytics dashboard and reporting engine that allows NewsBreak and its clients to better optimize the content playlist and further enhance the consumer facing retail experience.  NewsBreak has seen success with Sparkling Ice and Red Bull products, increasing sales by 196% and 48% respectively.  The software took eight months to develop and is constantly being fine-tuned as product playlists are evaluated and adjusted to better target consumers’ needs.

NewsBreak has ninety-five locations in various cities throughout Tennessee,  Kentucky, as well as California’s Silicon Valley.  In Knoxville, the company partners with local businesses Pilot Flying J, Weigel’s, and Rocky Top Markets.  In Nashville, NewsBreak partners with TriStar Energy in their Daily’s and Twice Daily branded convenience stores, as well as Hollingsworth Oil’s Sudden Service.  AU energy in Silicon Valley also contracts with NewsBreak in their upscale c-stores Loop Neighborhood markets, which offer a variety of specialized products like wines and cheeses.  NewsBreak has a growth opportunity over the next two years related to changes in credit card regulations.  By October of 2017, all gas pumps must have new credit card processors installed in order to remain PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant.  The installation of the new processors provides a natural and logical time to also install NewsBreak screens.

A team of four currently operates NewsBreak from offices located on Jackson Avenue.  The team focuses on marketing, data analytics, and technology operations, while outsourcing other business functions.


– Kelly Hastings, 2015 KEC Blogger

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