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An Interview with David Mathison of Kinecta

Syndication technology plays a key role in the content distribution processes, and it is an essential tool for the materialization of any business model based on online content.

Kinecta has been among the very first companies to enter this space, and the recently opened London office is the first move towards European operations. David Mathison, founder and CEO, has been around a long time. He has given a few of his insights to Internetcontent.net.

What is the future of online syndication?

The growth of the Internet provides a compelling model for most content firms to explore digital distribution. With the development of industry standards, such as the Information and Content Exchange (ICE) protocol, the ability to exchange content with multiple partners also becomes automatic.

Jupiter Media Metrix predicts that online content syndication and licensing will be a $1.5 billion business by 2004, up from $126 million in 1998. Kinecta sees this opportunity extending beyond traditional syndication of news, photos and text, however. All participants in the information economy have a need to exchange and manage data between online partners, which creates a larger untapped market for syndication.

Syndication technology is beginning to see robust deployments within enterprises where the need to share critical, timely information across business units requires a lightweight, easy to deploy, standards-based, scalable platform for information sharing. Enterprises find it highly efficient as well as competitively advantageous to deeply embed all components of their value chain information within their own information infrastructure. This leads to more timely information, better decisions, more efficient employees and deeper business relationships.

How does Kinecta perceive the European market evolving, as opposed to the US?

The requirement for syndication solutions and services is expanding rapidly in Europe, as organizations look to automate the delivery and exchange of content between businesses, especially those with multiple locations throughout the world.

Overall, there's less of a "build vs. buy" issue in Europe. We've noticed that fewer companies in Europe have deployed internal or homegrown solutions for content delivery, so more are ready to adopt packaged solutions.

What are the most interesting emerging market trends?

We see three major trends enabled by the Internet that will allow content providers to realize and increase the value of their online content. The leading trend is syndication, facilitated by the advent of standards-based technology. Syndication technologies and processes can be used to dramatically increase market reach, to significantly reduce the costs of acquiring new customers, or to generate incremental revenue.

The Internet also gives businesses access to a wider audience for their products. By the very nature of the Internet, the Web provides literally millions of distribution outlets for content, enabling businesses to personalize and package their content in more granular ways. It is inexpensive to re-purpose content because the costs lie in the primary creation of this content, and not in the subsequent copying or distribution of it. In addition, the ability to make content more granular, combined with the ability to easily move and manage that content, opens the opportunity for content providers to place their content on more sites, providing increased revenue opportunities.

Third is the ability to integrate all types of content to provide context or relevance. Websites are combining pieces of content from different sources and publishing it onto a single web page. The blending of these related content pieces create greater value combined than they do when published alone. The desire is to have content that is actionable - you want end-users to take action when visiting your site. They may start out by reading a story, but if there's a link to product information on that same page, they'll see it, and they may possibly purchase something because of it.

The ability to automatically and easily build and maintain content distribution relationships on the Internet makes this content merging possible. The types of business relationships enabled by the blending of online content are tremendous.

What are the emerging technologies worth a mention?

Tools that automate content syndication and aggregation are still emerging and will become core infrastructure components over the coming year. You'll also see next-generation content management solutions being required to incorporate or provide access to syndication capabilities.

In addition, you'll see more tracking and reporting services that enable content providers to measure the usage of their content throughout their syndication network.

Which emerging business models will impact the markets?

We're moving in the direction of Enterprise Content Integration for the development of business-to-business content networks. Content networks serve as the backbone for building e-commerce relationships, and include the exchange of corporate content throughout the value chain and media content across syndication networks. Tools that automate the delivery of content between businesses will enable companies to have direct relationships with their partners, suppliers and customers, without having to rely on an intermediary.

In addition, we're seeing that more than just content can be syndicated. New business models will emerge that enable the syndication and distribution of applications and business processes as well.

Nick Torday (See Author Profile)

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