Portfolio #other
Read time: 04'56''
6 December 2023
Meet SCREENSHOT, a digital and social-first media for next generation audiences

Meet SCREENSHOT, a digital and social-first media for the next generation audience

As part of our quick founder questions series – or QFQs – we spoke to Shira Jeczmien, CEO and founder of SCREENSHOT Media about delivering digestible content for 18-24 year olds and why founders need short meetings, meaningful agendas and should follow hunches.

I started SCREENSHOT Media as a quirky blog when I was at university as a way to help the emerging Gen Z audience follow trends and current affairs. As the website took off, our audience grew, and so did the social media channels they used. We’ve followed them ever since to give them the news they want where they want it.

There’s been a generational shift in the way that people consume news and the way that news is presented to audiences, driven by Gen Z. Legacy media platforms have failed to anticipate the changing demands of their younger readers, not least because they completely misunderstand and misrepresent this next generation, leaving 18-24-year-olds feeling underserved by mainstream media. I wanted to solve this with SCREENSHOT Media, by producing content and news that matters to Gen Z, wherever they consume their news.

Tell me about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?

SCREENSHOT Media produces content that matters to the next generation, covering politics and current affairs, technology, culture, entertainment, fashion, and now beginning to cover sports. We stand in contrast to the highly-politicised legacy media that ignores and often misrepresents 18-24-year-olds. We are led by a young, diverse team that genuinely represents our audience and we reach an audience of more than 200 million per month, 60% of which are actively engaged users within our core demographic.

Our social-first strategy means we create multi-channel content that is native to the platform on which it appears. This means we have dedicated specialist TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook departments at SCREENSHOT to create and amplify highly optimised content for wherever our audience of 18-24-year-olds naturally want to see it.

Tell us about the working culture at SCREENSHOT Media

Youth is a superpower for a media company targeting 18-24-year-olds and we are run by a young and diverse executive team who work alongside Gen Z content creators to stay at the forefront of internet culture. We care about raising talent within the company and we still have our original executive team today that we had when we first launched.

In terms of our internal structure, we promote a level system which stands in contrast to legacy media companies. We find this helps facilitate collaboration and a continuous flow of creative ideas between colleagues of all seniority levels because everyone feels that they have input power.

We have half-days on Friday, and everyone has unlimited access to specialised therapy. We also host quarterly social events like a cinema night and clothes swap parties!

How are you funded?

We’ve been bootstrapped from the start, investing strategically in areas that can generate direct revenue for the business, such as social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube. So far, we’ve had 4 years of sustainable growth and we’ve had such amazing success on our own!

Currently we’re focusing on expanding our reach and developing our agency arm which will allow us to continue to be self-sustaining. We are building a strong and profitable business for when we do finally go for that Series A funding round.

What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?

We originally started in a tiny, shared office space in Dalston and when I look back now, I am so proud of how quickly we built the company up given we were a young team out of university with limited industry contacts to make it work – but we did! I think fundamentally we understand our audience and we know how they like to consume content so once brands started to reach out after seeing how well tuned to this demographic we are, that became the catalyst for propelling the business forward into what it is today.

How does SCREENSHOT Media answer an unmet need?

We aim to deliver content that is digestible and delivered on the platforms that 18-24-year-olds use most to encourage them to decide for themselves about the world around them. Often legacy media ignores or misrepresents young people meaning their perspective is excluded from the wider conversations that will inevitably shape their lives. Our mission is to ensure we meet the needs of a generation that is not typically given prominence by legacy media.

We also own and operate multiple youth audience publisher brands across all social media platforms, which gives us unique insight into the behaviour of 18-24 audiences and early sight of trends. This level of engagement and granular data is the reason brands are actively coming to us for our insight.

From a commercial perspective, we help our clients build robust digital content strategies that insert them directly into culture as it happens. We are working with several blue-chip clients for example who are diversifying their traditionally linear budgets and wanting to understand how they can deliver impact across digital channels to the same scale or even bigger. 

What’s in store for the future?

Our vision is to become a world leading media company and the recognised voice for 18–24 year-olds. As we continue to grow our talented team, we’re beginning to look at setting up an office in the US so we can be closer to our global audience but for now, our focus is on generating accessible and digestible content that Gen Z actually want to engage with and making sure that their voice is heard on the issues that matter most to them.

What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?

My biggest piece of advice for other founders would be to follow your hunches. If your gut is telling you that something’s off, then you should listen to it, or you’ll end up losing focus of what’s important. This also goes for taking advice from peers. Everyone will give you different advice but not all of it will help you reach the next step in your journey. I always make sure to keep an open mind, but I’ve found it most helpful when I screen the feedback I receive into actionable insight that can help push the business forward.

And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?

I’m definitely a morning person and being in the business of media, I make sure I listen to the news while I get ready because it helps me to get ahead of any issues that might be relevant for the business and it’s also a nice routine that helps me feel prepared for the day ahead.

In a work setting, I’m a big believer in short meetings and meaningful agendas. The day can get hectic and while taking time out to discuss and collaborate with the team is essential, it is so much more productive if everyone goes into the meeting with a clear understanding of why we’re there and what we’re going to achieve by the time the meeting ends.

Shira Jeczmien is the CEO and founder of SCREENSHOT Media.