Primedia Online recently annouced that it had created a new business unit dedicated to providing ‘made to order’ content intended for resale and syndication.The idea, says business development manager, Susan Hansford, is to offer the content to local, African and internationally relevant publishers and brands.
“The content unit will comprise a combination of content sources, including a team of writers providing bespoke content, iafrica.com, the Dash of Lime premium publisher network (amongst others IOL, Entertainment Africa, Rugby 365, Techsmart), as well as local and international content suppliers through exclusive reseller licenses,” she says.
Hansford says they have 15 years of archived content in iafrica.com they can tap into, as well as the content that is updated on a daily basis across channels like sport, news, motoring, technology, lifestyle, entertainment, travel and business.
Journalists and writers will be “tasked with writing bespoke content for digital publishers (online and mobile) and brands. We will be able to offer any content to any brand, customised for use across any platform,” she says.
Hansford says content syndication is a complex combination of factors. “The costs will depend on how original the content is and how much research has to go into it. And so the value of the content ranges between two extremes. On the one end of the scale is the content that is already being produced and will continue to be produced for an existing publisher; and the other, content that is specifically commissioned for a client, with complete exclusivity, and to the exclusion of reuse at later stage.”
She uses as an example the agreement Primedia Online already has in place with Umuntu Media. “We syndicate lifestyle content to Umuntu Media which has 12 country-specific websites across Southern Africa. The parameters of the brief is to supply content which will appeal to those living outside of South Africa and so our team of journalists are tasked with writing articles which need to take this into account.”
Hansford says they’re pitching for business to whoever is interested in buying it, from mobile operators, digital publishers, advertising agencies or anyone or any brand “that wants to build a profile in the market through content provision to its users”.
She says the concept of a content unit has been “extremely well received by our premium publisher network as it is potentially a new revenue stream for them. We are offering them the opportunity to benefit from the technology we use to syndicate as well as the service of selling it for them. A win-win for them”.
At the same time, says Hansford, their sales teams have been given a boost through the opportunity to offer content services to ad agencies and client direct offers them a strong selling point in the market. “This will give Dash Of Lime an edge in the preparation of creative, innovative brand proposals,” she says.
Content provision isn’t a cheap round. But Hansford says Primedia Online has leveraged its existing editorial infrastructure to be more cost effective. “Quality content is in huge demand but often creating it is too expensive for individual sites or brands. Thanks to our publishing experience and existing infrastructure we are able to ensure that the cost of content is not a barrier to entry for publishers and brands,” says Hansford.
The challenge, she says, will be meeting the demand. “As it grows, so will we scale up on staff to meet the demand. It’s getting the balance right that is the challenge.
For a digital publisher/platform, says Hansford, it is the easiest way to obtain content” through an existing, reliable resource without incurring the overheads associated with a team of journalists”.