For a young industry like online syndication, trying to understand what executives have in mind can provide a sense of direction.
Interview with Scott Harrison, VP of Business Development at Screamingmedia.com
21 March 2001, 3 pm GMT
Recently Screamingmedia, syndicator, entered an agreement with IBM.
Content-wire took the chance to catch up with an exec who has been closely involved in the negotiation, to find out a bit more of what is at the back of syndicators mind's, as the messages that the industry receives are sometimes contradictory, and not always in line with expectations, probably beacuse syndicators themselves are struggling to find
business models that work.
Scott Harrison, Screamingemdia VP of Business Development, is a Carnegie Melon graduate and holds an MBA from Anderson School at Ucla.
Previously he worked for IBM in Japan, then for HP.
Recently IBM started a partnership with Screamingmedia, why would they do that?
They signed a deal with us, because we provide them with the content technology and services that they do not have, but that their customers need as part of an overall portal solution.
Companies like IBM partner to cover business areas where they do not specialize.
None of the big technology companies are very strong in content solutions
So what is your role in the technology supply chain?
We partner with thousand of content providers, part of the value we bring is the ability to integrate all those feeds, filter them according to the clients specifications, deliver the content relevant to their needs and integrate it directly into their platforms, whether they are web based or wireless. Our filtering technology is very strong
How does the business model for the content providers follow?
IBM, for example, could have a deal with AT&T to supply technology, we feed all our content to IBM solution, and AT&T pays for it as the end customer So in addition to their usual web application tools, like Websphere for example, IBM can also supplement the package with the option to buy a content solution built in the software and say to their clients 'oh by the way we can provide content as well'
Does it not bother you that IBM
signed up iSyndicate asd well, one of your main competitors, on the same day?
The media actually pits us against iSyndicate much more than we actually view them as a competitor.
Our filtering, value-processing and categorizing technology, and our global content network is what separates us from all the other players that we often get grouped with.
It is our technology that allows us to parse and normalize this content and deliver it to our clients on any platform and in any language.
Do you own exclusive proprietory processes?
Definitely, we specialise in cleaning and tagging for indexing purposes the entire experience that customers have is different because of that because it enables us to deliver the right content in the right format to make things easy for our clients
So is the internet changing the information lifecycle? Some observers think it is not really happening as so many players are failing to see financial results
I would not say that it is not happening,
the market is so big Can’t serve the needs of everyone It's a question of finding the right product or service to optimise every particular market We offer a solution for example, syndication connect, that allows media companies and content creators to set up their own private syndication networks. By licensing our technology these content creators can aggregate, filter, process, categorize and deliver their content directly to their subscribers, thus maintaining complete control over their own licensing relationships.
Yes but syndication technologies are currently widely available, anyone can setup a syndication network these days.
Our fees for this service are not unreasonable. The value proposition is that these content creators can extend their brand further, target their content to their subscribers' needs better, and create additional direct revenue streams
We hear that Screamingmedia is moving away from smaller publishers. Could that possibly be true?
The internet is supposed to allow new content providers to be distributed. There is no indication at all that smaller content providers are less interesting for us.
Wherever there is content that is of interest to some of our clients, we need to be there Niches are very specific markets for us, and as far as I know we are not trying to reduce the numbers of niche publishers that we get content from, we may have to find suitable formats.
Give your story premium visibility!