Big-media content, now a la carte

Content from the biggest providers for the smallest of blogs.

By Susanna Hamner, Business 2.0 Magazine writer-reporter

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Want to legally publish material from name-brand media companies on your website? Here's the standard way of doing it: Sift through piles of licensing paperwork, and then pay a hefty syndication fee (millions of dollars a year) to each organization whose articles and photos you'd like to post.

Now there's an alternative: Mochila, a year-old online marketplace that serves up syndication from mainstream media outlets on an la carte basis -- much of it ad-supported and available to the little guys for free.

Mochila has been adding a steady stream of content providers: It currently offers articles from 200 organizations, including the Associated Press, the Gannett and Hearst newspaper chains, MSNBC, and magazines like Cosmopolitan and Esquire. (This spring Mochila will add video from AP as well.)

If an ad is attached to an article, you can re-publish both for free -- and even get 30 percent of the ad revenue, with the rest split between Mochila and the content provider. If there's no ad, you pay as much as $250 for the story and up to $200 for a photo. Roughly 75 percent of Mochila's content is ad-supported.

The privately held startup says it will turn a profit by early 2008. It has landed $20 million in funding from VCs including Charles River Ventures and Mission Ventures. Because it brings publications together in a single service and takes a cut, Mochila CEO Keith McAllister calls it "iTunes for the media."

McAllister, a former executive at CNN, allows content providers to set any licensing restrictions they choose, soothing the nerves of companies that had been notoriously skittish about making their content available to the Web's mom-and-pops.

"In the late 1990s, we saw this kind of Internet marketplace emerge in nearly every industry, except the media," says James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research. "Media companies didn't want their content sitting right beside their competitors'. But with Mochila, that's clearly changed. It's landed enough business that content providers feel like they have to join."


1. Browse Mochila's marketplace for free, ad-supported articles, then paste them into your own website.

2. Revenue from the ad is split three ways (Mochila: 30 percent; Content provider: 40 percent; You: 30 percent). Top of page

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