Syndication: beyond RSS, exchange leads to profit
Syndication is often understood in the world of the Internet as a simple exchange of RSS, allowing one to publish the “headlines” of the other by sending the user back to its site. A more extended understanding of syndication could actually solve a large part of the problems of written press.
In the USA, syndication has been existing since a long time in the field of the television, and is understood as the real exchange of complete content. In term of business models, those local channels are actually basing on exchange (minutes against minutes), on “shared” buying (each ones of them pays a small part of the full total) and of promotional or sponsored barter (the broadcasting of the program actually creates notoriety for the producer and\or the sponsor).
The written press, and in their various web and online version, could actually adopt the same method, in order to enrich their content proposition at low cost while concentrating their resources on the production of the subjects with high added value which make this media unique. The setting-up of this exchange is not so easy and induce risks, post perceived and real ones, which must be covered to enable the lift-off of this strategy.
First of all, parties must consider each other as valid partners, credible partners, with a level of quality and credibility, which is equivalent or similar to both parties.
Secondly, the two actors of the exchange must not be in competition for the same audience, first in terms of strategic territory of the media, secondly and in lesser manner in terms of target groups.
Thirdly, syndication must be fair to be sustainable, and none of the parties must have the impression then the other shave more benefits in the situation. In that logic, the setting of the objective value of a content must be based on the right mix of qualitative criteria (ex: scoop) and quantitative criteria (ex: size).
The shared trust and the setting-up of common values are requesting a lot of efforts within the written press, a complex industry and often a bit conservative. Logical and efficient, syndication is the rational solution and an excellent means to be able to publish massive quantity of high quality content without having to bear all the costs of it.
To enable the raise of syndication, intermediary actors are now appearing and positioning themselves as ” third party guarantee”, as an escrow in a financial transaction, proposing a series of tools that allows to organize as well as to structure a marketplace of publishing rights, a marketplace to acquire rights of original and adapted content.