Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mochila: Syndication for a New Generation

Welcome to today's column. I begin what will be a regular feature on Multi-Platform Media, company profiles of ventures in this multi-platform space, or just companies that I want to write about.

Today it's Mochila, a company that has come strong out of the gates and is creating a new paradigm for syndication in our fragmented media world. Mochila reaches syndication agreements with various media partners -- a slew of them so far -- and offers the material to other media sources for use other plans and on other platforms. Unlike other syndication companies, Mochila does not require that those use the material sign long term subscription deals or anything like that. You like it. You use it, for a fee, of course.

There's also a new offering that enables licensees to use material for free if you run it with ads embedded. So, I can run pages on this website with content provided by Mochila. You'll see the ads, and I'll get 30% of any revenues, Mochila will get 30% and the content owner will get 40%.

I had an opportunity to speak with CEO Keith McAllister yesterday -- he's a veteran of CNN -- and he was extremely encouraged by the media response since the company emerged from stealth mode last year. His strategy is to go after the biggest brands in the business, and their members include AP, , Hearst, Hachette, Washington Post/LA Times News Services. In all, 1542 media outlets and 139 organizations. They are planning to add still photos and video shortly.

Mochila has just received $8million in second round funding. The round was led by Charles River Ventures, and previous investors, Mission Ventures, The Greenspun Corporation and Jerry Colonna also participated.

It looks like a great service. The only variable I see are the scads of websites out there who are inclined just to lift stuff for free. Of course, it's not the right thing to do, but that hasn't stopped many people in the past. I think the most likely clients are corporations and "official" media companies who won't just lift stuff for free. McAllister offers that the opportunity to make money off the content will keep the small guys in line.

Keep an eye on these guys. If they can continue to line up name media brands as partners, they'll have a considerable advantage over others that follow.