March 12, 2009

The Guardian opens up

The newspaper industry has for quite some time been struggling with declining sales and uncertainty in how to get paid for content proved on their websites. For most part the content has been proved for free and revenue has come from advertising.

It has proved hard to get a viable business model based on this and also to utilize the full potential of the material created by the journalists. Just imagine what amount of interesting articles there are published every day and potentially could be used over and over again in different forms and different media.

From my point what has been lacking is both the willingness to spread the material created, far from all newspapers have all their material available on the web. But also the means of actually making it available has been lacking. That is why I look at the British newspaper the Guardian’s new attempt to make money out of their huge catalog of content as a really good sign of that there might be a change.

“The Guardian today launched Open Platform, a service that will allow partners to reuse guardian.co.uk content and data for free and weave it "into the fabric of the internet".

Open Platform launched with two separate content-sharing services, which will allow users to build their own applications in return for carrying Guardian advertising.”

“The Cass Sculpture Foundation is using the service to add Guardian articles about British artists to its site.

Other partners for the launch of the service include web design firm Stamen and OpenStreetMap, a free, open alternative to commercial map data services. Stamen and OpenStreetMap developed a service that they hope will encourage Guardian readers to "geo-tag" the newspaper's content, positioning every article, video and picture on a map so users can find news, commentary, video and other content related to their area.”

I think that one of the keys to success as a newspaper in this era is to see that you actually have a huge content database which is not only usable as part of the day-to-day reporting but also as something much more. In the Long tail model, which I think is applicable in this area, one of the key issues is to have a good search engine/model. Not just to provide the content but also to make the users understand that it is there and make them understand that they want it.

Spreading the content through the help of other actors is probably one of better ways to get your content out. That is also why I am so interested to see how Guardian’s Beta testing turns out. There might just be a working model, there might just…

Johan Örneblad

Found through Open... .

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