Publish2 Update: Network Growth and New Business Model

Many people have reached out to us recently and asked, “How’s Publish2 doing? You guys have been very quiet for the last few months.” That’s because we’ve had our heads down rolling out the full content distribution service that we announced last summer and launched in beta last fall. And… we’ve successfully launched our business model.

So it’s time for an update on the growth of our content distribution network and our new software-as-a-service licensing business.

Network Growth

The value of any network grows exponentially with the number of participants. So we’re excited to report the our network now includes over 200 news organizations that are actively distributing and acquiring content through Publish2.

See who’s in the Publish2 network.

We’ve found the key to network growth is members “inviting their friends,” just like on Facebook, which in our case means news organizations inviting their partners. When all of your partners, and news orgs that you want to partner with, are on the network, it’s easy to see the value in joining.

We’re focused on bringing the hundreds of newsrooms we’ve worked with over the past three years into the network.  As with all networks, the larger it is, the more valuable it becomes for everyone involved.  We’re exploring every network vector for content distribution and content sharing — state, region, sports leagues, topics like health, environment, business, etc.

(Interested in joining the network? Let us know.)

New Business Model: Software-as-a-Service

In the past six months, we have also successfully launched our paid software-as-a-service business. Here are some of our paid SaaS customers, which include over 50 news orgs:

SaaS is the ideal business model for our network because we can support the business models of our network participants — whether that be content bartering, licensing, ad revenue share, or branding — without dictating what their business model should be. All news organizations on our network control their content rights, terms of use, and the business agreements they set up with their network partners. There a lot of companies out there looking to take a percentage cut of your revenue, but we’re not one of them. SaaS also ensures our long-term sustainability as a network platform.

While joining the Publish2 content distribution network is free, our paid software-as-a-service license is required for automating the delivery of content directly into publishing systems — legacy front end editorial systems, hosted web CMSs, open source CMSs, mobile apps — we support them all.  We know most news orgs don’t have a developer with free time to code to an API, so we skip the API and integrate directly with existing systems using open formats and technology that newsrooms can use right out of the box. Our software-as-a-service comes with full support for integration and newsroom training — we’ll meet your technology and newsroom where they are today.

We also know that unless content gets delivered where time-crunched editors work every day, it won’t get used. Logging in to another website to download content is typically a non-starter.  We deliver content into existing wire queues and post directly to websites. That’s what puts news orgs in the position to reduce the cost of “filling the news hole” and create new products by curating content from their network (what we call the Content Graph).

Our software-as-a-service now includes a range of “content modules” that enable news organizations to take advantage of connecting the network directly to their publishing systems.

For example, Freedom Communications is using our Internal Newswires module to create a content sharing network for all of their properties, to maximize the value of the content that their newsrooms create everyday. Editors can export stories from their editorial system with one click, without having to log into Publish2. And shared stories show up in their existing wire queues alongside other wire stories. They are also sharing budgets to help newsrooms plan around shared content.

Once they have all their publishing systems connected, Freedom can use other Publish2 modules to:

USA WEEKEND Magazine, a Gannett Company, is using our Syndication Management module to distribute content from partners like The Doctors, as well as some of their own content, to their hundreds of newspaper customers for use in print and/or online. Our Syndication Management module allows USA WEEKEND’s carrier newspapers to pull content directly into their publishing systems.For web syndication, we provide content tracking, branding and links back, and Google’s syndication-source meta tag to prevent problems with duplicate content in search.

Climate Central is similarly using our Syndication Management module to enable news orgs interested in their environmental reporting to get it delivered directly into their publishing systems, with the goal of significantly ramping up their syndication across hundreds of partners. We take care of all the implementation and support for their partners, while they sit back and enjoy greater pickup by getting their content to editors. Climate Central is also using Publish2 to automate posting content from partners on their own site — here’s an example.

East Oregonian Publishing Company is using our Co-op module to share content internally and with other news orgs in the Northwest, starting with Oregon Public Broadcasting. They are also using our Content Bridge module to bridge the gap that still exists in most newsrooms between print and web. At the same time that editors share stories through the Publish2 network, they can send them to their own website. For stories already on the web, they can be shared back into the print production process and delivered to the archive. Hours spent copying and pasting can now be more productively reallocated.

Bakersfield Californian uses our Alternative Newswire module to receive content from a range of news sources, from free newswires like AOL DailyFinance to licensed content from California Watch and McClatchy-Tribune.

News organizations continue to surprise us with new ways to use our platform — setting up content distribution as a peer-to-peer network opens up a lot of possibilities for cost savings and new revenue streams. Having integrated directly with news organizations’ web and print publishing systems, Publish2 makes it easy for them to expand their use of the network.

For example, based on newsroom feedback we created a module for newsrooms to set up a PR newswire service for local businesses, as a way to add content to their sites, source local business stories, and source local advertising leads. We created the Local Industry Newswires module as a way for news orgs to enable companies in a major local industry to share news and information — news orgs can even create a B2B publication and sell advertising. We created the Community Newswires module to make setting a blog network turnkey and easily scalable.

We are also excited to be serving the mission of news organizations on our network:

  • Sustaining and growing resources for original reporting (especially local) by reducing the costs of third-party content
  • Enabling new products that produce new revenue streams to support journalism
  • Enabling broader regional and national distribution of important public issues reported at the local level
  • Enabling broader distribution for nonprofit news organizations, and new business models that support those organizations
  • Enabling news organizations to be the beneficiaries of disruptive new models, rather than the victims

The other question we get asked is, “Why is Publish2 creating a network for the news industry? Isn’t that like vitamins for dinosaurs?”

Yeah, well, for those keeping score, the news industry is still a $100 billion worldwide market and many newspapers are in fact profitable. The last few years may have been painful, but every news organization is now solidly focused on transforming for future growth.  To do so, news companies must adopt technologies that enable their newsrooms to create new digital products while simultaneously preserving the ROI of their legacy print product.  Providing that bridge between old and new is precisely what Publish2’s platform and network are designed to do and, given the rate of adoption we’re seeing now, we are very optimistic about the future of the news industry.