It could well be the first study of its kind, due in June. Today early insights are presented in Amsterdam. Matthijs Leendertse shares his notes with Content-Wire.
4 April 2001, 8 am GMT
Online content syndication started out as a copy of the offline syndication industry.
Traditionally, syndicators acquired content from originators and sold it to distributors, but
this simple linear model proves difficult to maintain in a digitised environment.
First of all, we can see that vertical integration between originators and distributors, think of Time-Warner or Endemol-Telefonica poses a problem.
Integration issues make it increasingly difficult for syndicators to function as an intermediary between content originators and distribution related industries.
In addition, we see many (larger) content originators syndicating their content directly
(Bertelsmann - iSyndicate or Reuters for example).
Secondly, we see that new technology (primarily syndication software) is emerging
(not in the least part peer-to-peer networks) that enables companies to completely bypass the syndicators' position between originators and distributors.
Some critics claim that syndication companies need to focus on their core activity and leave the technology to third parties. Syndication companies should in this model focus on aggregating content, finding synergies between content offerings of several companies and finding audiences for them.
Syndicators can help distributors in this way to place content within a wider context, which corresponds to the definition of syndication as we use it (syndication is the sale of the same good to many customers, who then integrate it with other offerings and redistribute it, Kevin Werbach)
The main question is then, what role will syndication companies play in the future; technology provider, service provider or a hybrid between the two? We are researching the industry to see how these models will develop.
A more positive development for the syndication companies is the emergence of a multi channel communications environment.
MAPs (Multi Access Portals) are the prime examples of this, offering content to mobile, fixed and even interactive television distribution platforms.
The prime companies that will try to deliver content within this multi channel environment are the network operators. Companies that offer these new platforms to their clients need compelling content for their customers.
As most providers of connectivity are not traditionally from the content industry and therefore lack knowledge about content strategies, syndication companies can offer both skills and content.
Furthermore, as most content companies are not familiar with the technological aspects of different reception media, syndication companies can offer them the chance to work on their core competency (creating compelling content) while they take care of the formatting and other technological issues.
Matthijs Leendertse is a Senior Research Analyst with Vandusseldorp&Parners
A report on the subject is due for publication in June
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