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Guardian’s Open Platform (Part 2): Where’s the money?

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on June 16, 2010

Guardian’s experiment with open source data has proven one thing quite clear that Public data is a growth media for an ecosystem to form. Public data on open source is a nutrient of a whole new eco-system and allow new things to happen. The key to monetization of the open systems in this case is building user centric apps which have a business model.
The applications build on the Guardian Open source platform is divided into three categories mainly differentiated by span of Guardian’s control and the revenue/revenue share model.

So then where is the money?

Guardian’s open platform gives API and Content Developers 3 tiers of access and 3 separate revenue models to choose from:

BESPOKE: Taking, Reformatting, and content augmentation with same access as that of Guardian. Allows custom access for licensing content and integrating rich applications. The revenue is a combination of sponsorship, media, fees, revenue share and downloads.

APPROVED: This involves taking the full Guardian article content, with an advert. Out of this Guardian keeps the ad revenue and the API developer keeps the rest of the page revenue.

KEYLESS: The API developer takes Guardian’s content and keeps part of the associated revenues. Thus there is free access to headlines,data,tags and meta data. There is no key required and partner keeps associated revenue from the page.

What this means for Guardian is that developers are able to access full content APIs on demand from Guardian with keys approved thus making the platform a place to do business with Guardian and engage its scale. Rapid scalability, reliability and performance are the core requirements.


The technology back end running the open source

To assist the developers, Guardian has the Microapps which is a third framework for integrating 3rd party apps into the Guardian platform. The Microapps helps developers integrate their solutions more easily and readily into the Guardian core and evolve the Guardian open platform to be the commercial future of the partners/developers.

Thus the open source platform would be instrumental for Guardian in terms of
• Moving away from content broadcast, and yet keep the growth engines running
• Partner engagement and open source contributions on journalism, data, software, applications, revenue and ads
• It would also support the developers and partners with data and APIs, scalability, reliability and speed.
Guardians enterprising effort build on open source is pretty much on its way to re-define media and thought behind media.

In times to come, media will need to evolve into a two way communication path and Guardian will be referred as a case study, as a pioneer of new media.

Amen!

Guardian’s Open Platform (Part 1): Coming of Age (Driving Innovation to stay relevant in Media)

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on June 13, 2010

RIP, Print Media!

The proliferation of Digital and Social Media and Google have had an adverse impact on the print media by means of replacement.Communication is two way, immediate and Twitter has now added a dash of “conversation streams” to the news and print.

In this context, Guardian’s effort to move from being just a broadcast publisher to a platform and use content , search and open source to build a new business model around news and media is noteworthy. The transition from news and journalism to news, data, video, audio, content partnerships, innovation, conversation, comments, keywords, podcasts, recommendations, hashtags and live blogs is a case study.The bottomline is about Guardian’s evolution to a platform and not just a publisher.

This platform approach is about changing the perspective from “bringing the data and apps from the internet” to “enabling partners to build applications using proprietary content and services for all digital platforms”. The idea is “experimenting in combining the experience and knowledge of a large media network with experience, opinions and expertise of people who want to participate rather than passively receive content and news”.

Guardian’s open platform is thus its suite of services enabling its partners to build applications with Guardian. The platform has three parts to it:
Content API: A service for collecting and selecting content from the Guardian for re-use

Data store: A directory of useful data curated by Guardian editors.The developers can take this content of the newspaper as the raw material for building new businesses. This raw data is useful in profiling demographics and trends and data catalogues,

Politics API: Database of candidates, voting records, constituencies, election results and live data on election day. The data here is again freely available for use and analysis. Developers innovate on this data and develop interesting tools such as the voter power index for the recent British elections which lets the user know his vote’s woth basis his marginality and constituency size.

Thus Guardian has been making interesting use of Public data to make its own media eco-system and allow “open ssource” innovation to take over.The emerging trends point to change in public participation space aroud public data. Public data can create new economies, improve procurement processes and through evolutionary pressure in the marketplace increase the usability and user centricity of applications that access Government services. Guardian is stepping as a facilitator for consumers of these services to provide an environment where Consumers can get better and access to newer things, mediated by the ingenuity of the developers

Part 2: How the open source makes money?

Guardian’s Open Platform: The Launch

Harnessing Open Source to power the next level of Business: The Guardian’s Open Platform initiative

guardian20logo

In the age of open source and democratization of content it is just time before newspapers and news agencies join the open platform and social networking as a means to stay relevant. The challenge is to customize the business model around these to make money even while they reinvent the rules of the game. Guradin, The UK based newpaper has taken its first step in this direction by launching what they call the “Open Platform”. While all newspapers have a blogs, content and online presence, Guardian’s venture is different.

What guardian plans is to open up millions of of pieces of content: Stories, Photos, Slideshows and data sets to all who want to process all this data through web applications and mashups etc. In its present avataar, all this is Guradian’s core product, which Guardian shall open up to the internet for free! Why would someone do that?

Three reasons:

1. Guardian plans to use this channel to push advertising. In effect, by being a host to users, developers and applications, it is creating a captive base and it will push advertising feeds into this outlet as well. This thus becomes an extremely scalable way to increase ad inventories and at some stage Guardin will venture out into targetted advertising through API (application programming interface). That like creating a new G Mail and adsense.

2. Opening up all its content inventory would attract a whole bunch of programmers and developers to this platform which would nurture innovations around the core product. In an age where news feeds are so commoditized, innovations from an open source can pep up the channel offering. All this development at zero cost. Developers have already started throwing up interesting results. API maps matches news content with locations aroudn the world to create a crowd sourced geo tagged database of news. Content Tagger allows users to create web tag on Guardian database.

3. If nothing else works out, the effort is going to create branded content and applications, at no incremental cost. With no incremental costs again, Guardian will probably create plenty of new consumers and a new level of brand awareness.

All in all, an interesting piece of work, which would give us reasons and ideas on what works and what doesnot in terms of Monetizing efforts around the social networking platform in this age of Web 2.0 and Freetardonomics.

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