Inc. magazine releases a list every year that reflects the top 5000 fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S. In 2019 there were a number of new faces that graced the prestigious list, but one that stands out is newcomer NewsWatch, a media company in the DC metro area, that broke through at 775 on the list of 5000.
To understand the significance of placing on this list, especially in the top 1000, it’s necessary to gain some background on how the list is tallied. Companies are measured against three years of growth. In this case 2015-2018. To qualify for the list your company must have made no less than $100,000 in the first year and at least $2,000,000 in the third year. The more revenue growth you show in that time period the higher on the list you appear.
In order to break through at such a high spot, especially in their first year, NewsWatch had to show staggering exponential growth and they did. They saw a growth of 558% in those three short years. In addition to their impressive position on the overall list they also received an additional honor, placing 7th in the list of fastest-growing media companies. Top 1000 is nice but now they have a top 10 honor to stick on their mantel.
“For decades, Inc. has welcomed the fastest-growing private companies in America, and this year’s set of winners places the bar very high indeed,” James Ledbetter, Editor in Chief of Inc. magazine said to the Inc. 5000 Honorees. “Companies that made the list, on average, have grown sixfold since 2015. During a stretch when the economy grew just 12 percent, that’s a result most businesses could only dream of.”
This illustrates the sheer blood, sweat and tears it takes to get your company in the position to be featured by Inc. Company growth is usually paralleled by the growth of the economy. This is often tied in with the public’s willingness to spend money. Back in 2008 when the recession hit, a lot of companies took a massive hit as people locked up their money and refused to spend. Succeeding despite the overall economy takes sharp business acumen and unfettered persistence.
What’s particularly impressive about NewsWatch’s appearance on the list, and especially at such a high ranking, is their longevity. The media company was originally founded in 1989 but has shown no signs of slowing and in fact shows the exact opposite. Despite their thirty years and counting, they’ve really stepped on the gas in the past five years, trumping anything they’ve done in the past three decades.
NewsWatch is now counted among some of the true power companies of the past 50 years. A number of goliath companies who are now household names have graced the list since its inception in 1982. “This achievement puts you in rarefied company,” NewsWatch’s congratulatory letter from Inc. said. “The elite group you’ve now joined has, over the years, included companies such as Microsoft, Timberland, Vizio, Intuit, Chobani, Oracle, and Patagonia.”
While this is certainly a prestigious honor that acknowledges the efforts and great strides NewsWatch has made over the last few years, the real question is, “How did they do it?”
NewsWatch and the Client Experience
NewsWatch is primarily a media company that airs its own show on AMC and ION. The show consists of reviews of companies and their products with an eye towards tech. Working with clients, they create engaging one-minute segments that highlight the client’s product or service and tell the audience where they can get their hands on them.
In addition to their show, they offer video production services and marketing programs that include promotion through their sizable social media presence and on their website, which sees robust traffic thanks to their engaging articles and other content.
The new Inc. 5000 company was founded in 1989 with a plan to revolutionize the industry with honest reporting and quality shows. At that time, they aired a program that primarily focused on financial news. The show was a far cry from the current energetic format. After a few years they realized they needed to pivot toward a less niche topic and so moved into entertainment and tech.
A typical episode of NewsWatch features both paid and unpaid reviews. The audience learns to trust their opinion if they know they’re getting a balanced take that covers the positive as well as the negative.
It’s a real balancing act providing quality programming that attracts a large national audience while also providing everything the client needs. The client essentially hires NewsWatch as an advertising company to market their product, so they have to walk a fine line to deliver on both fronts. From all accounts, they do it very well.
That’s best illustrated with some examples of companies that have enlisted NewsWatch to create a segment for their brand. We’ll start with a Dutch company called Avanca.
Avanca specializes in creating their own smartphones, tablets and laptops with a booming business in Europe, Africa and Asia. They are an alternative to some of the bigger brands we have here in the U.S. like Apple and Microsoft.
They hired NewsWatch to promote their newest product, the Ockel Sirius B pocket PC. They were launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise $10,000 in just 30 days. NewsWatch helped them raise well in excess of their goal. In fact, with the help of a NewsWatch campaign, Avanca raised $456,551 in those 30 days, smoking any expectations.
“We [worked with] NewsWatch and it was one of the main reasons why the crowdfunding project was successful,” Marketing Director for Avanca, Nathalie van Wijkvliet said of the experience.
That’s only one example of the kind of praise that we see coming from clients who’ve worked with NewsWatch. Let’s look at another one – CocoLogics’s ProCamera app.
The ProCamera app by CocoLogics is an app that attempts to mirror the experience you might have with a DSLR right on your phone. It includes a number of features and controls that go well beyond the native camera app. ProCamera is a must-have for just about anyone who’s looking for more creative control over their pictures, but they still needed more visibility.
NewsWatch was brought in to create a segment that would show their audience the benefits of this unique app. There was no stated goal, just the desire for broad promotion. That’s exactly what CocoLogics got but with tangible results to back it up. During the week where their segment appeared on NewsWatch, ProCamera leaped up the Overall iTunes charts, clobbering past 800 spots. In the more niche US Photo and Video rankings they appeared in the top 10. Tag 37,000 downloads of the app and an additional 303 positive reviews and you’ve got one happy client.
There is a plethora of client successes we could tell you about, but I think it’s best stated by VXi, a company that specializes in top-of-the-line headsets.
“This was our second year doing a video segment with NewsWatch and again we were thrilled with the results. NewsWatch does a great job of telling our story,” said Elisabeth Jeffs, VXi’s Digital Media Specialist. “It’s professional, well executed and prevents us from having to worry about production. In addition, the post-show airing and social outreach greatly increases our reach as a brand. This gives us a chance to be on the national stage and continue to share the video months after.”
Other Recognitions and Awards and What it Means for NewsWatch
Placing in the top 1000 on the Inc. 5000 is simply the icing on the cake after years of hard work. Not surprisingly, this is not NewsWatch’s first recognition for their quality work in television and marketing.
They won a Gold and Platinum 2017 Marcom Award for their TV program and the 2017 Videographer Award for “excellence in 30-minute entertainment.” NewsWatch also won a Silver Telly Award and was nominated for another which is (sticking with the cake metaphor) the cherry on top.
“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” Ledbetter said. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”
This statement by the Editor in Chief of Inc. magazine perfectly encapsulates how NewsWatch has clawed its way to success. The company has continued to defy odds by always taking the path less traveled when the world of some tv programming suggests you should stick to the norm and deliver the same dry goods over and over.
NewsWatch has changed with the times, never shying away from creating their own trends just before the industry shifts. It’s this mentality that made their eventual placement in the Inc. 5000 inevitable. I can’t wait to see where they place in 2020.