NewsEdge Corp. has long been in the business of providing packaged information products for corporate knowledge workers' desktops. Its NewsEdge Live and NewsEdge Insight products combine three components in the package: the company's technology, syndicated content and infrastructure, and the user interface. Last May, NewsEdge announced a "strategic realignment" for the company, and its launch into providing syndicated e-content and infrastructure services to insert into business-oriented Web sitesóportals, extranets, and e-commerce business exchanges. [See the May 15, 2000 NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleID=17814] This uncoupled the interface from the other two components. Now NewsEdge has announced that one of the three components, its technology, will be available separately and for licensing to organizations that are creating and managing content.
NewsEdge Electronic Publishing Technology enables content creators and information providers to collect and standardize content from disparate sources, classify that content with NewsEdge's patented taxonomy of over 2,000 topics, and deliver it to the Web in real-time XML format. Electronic Publishing Technology also allows publishers to take advantage of NewsEdge's industry expertise in refining, tagging, prioritizing, and distributing news content. The Electronic Publishing Technology will then deliver the story headlines, in real time, to the publishers' subscribing customers as a streaming or episodic feed, or as syndicated content to other NewsEdge-hosted services. Publishers' Webmasters can thus post content faster, and it's easier for users to find the content they want because of the categorizing and tagging.
"NewsEdge has for years been a leader in bringing content to the Web. Now, we are applying our unique technology and taxonomy expertise to the publishing world," said Cliff Pollan, CEO of NewsEdge. "Our Electronic Publishing Technology will enable content creators and new-media publishers to overcome the tremendous challenges posed by moving their print franchises, internally developed off-line content, and content from disparate sources to the Web."
NewsEdge recently announced that Business.com, a Web-based business-information site, had licensed the NewsEdge technology. [See the February 5, 2001 Weekly News Digest at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/wndReader.asp?ArticleId=17665] Business.com doesn't originate content, but licenses it from other publishers. NewsEdge is helping the company to organize, categorize, and post this content. The official announcement of the NewsEdge Electronic Publishing Technology serves to formalize and advertise the company's entry into this area of business.
According to David Scott, vice president of marketing, NewsEdge worked with Primedia last summer to help it organize its content and prepare XML feeds of publications to insert into Primedia's IndustryClick sites. Then, NewsEdge began talking to other publishers with similar problems in handling their content. Scott noted that the company is now in discussions with several dozen, and that other agreements will be announced soon. He said that some of the potential clients are also interested in separate agreements for NewsEdge to provide syndicated content to commingle with their own content.
Minimum pricing to license Electronic Publishing Technology, according to Scott, would probably start around $50,000, and increase with the complexity of the publishing needs and the number of publications. He noted that there were so many variables that it was difficult to give a typical cost.
It looks like NewsEdge's recent initiatives to syndicate content are paying off, as it recently announced its third straight quarter of operating improvement. The company reported revenues of $18 million and a $139,000 net profit for the quarter that ended December 31, 2000, compared to revenue of $18.7 million and a $7.5 million net loss in the same quarter the year before.
"I am pleased to announce that in less than three quarters, our Content Solutions business, first introduced in the second quarter of 2000, has become a significant contributor to our overall revenue mix and a major force in helping us to achieve profitability this quarter," said Pollan.
NewsEdge has shown flexibility and resilience over the years, and a willingness to research and adjust its strategies and business models to new market opportunities. It guessed correctly about the opportunities for content syndication, and I suspect it's making another good call by launching into licensing technology to the publishing industry. A word for publishers and content creators: When a good tool is available, license itódon't reinvent it.