Content Syndication

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Content Syndication is a relatively new concept concerning publishing information once, and making it available everywhere. Content Syndication technologies are used when a company needs to market their contents by syndicating it through multiple channels to the end user be they consumer or business. Usually content syndication techniques are used to keep control of the information provided through, e.g. the retailers' chain websites or social networks. In that way, marketing campaigns can be managed centrally, keeping brand and product information coherent and getting information about the user interaction, number of prints, etc.

Introduction

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Following the definition of the Internet Content Syndication Council [1], "Content syndication is the sale or controlled placement of the same content on multiple partnering Internet destinations. In this online business model, the content’s destinations and placements are selected by the content owner or its syndication agent so as to maximize the content’s exposure to desired audiences. The content owner monetizes the content through sale, subscription and various revenue-sharing models.”

From a business perspective, there are only a few Content Syndication solutions available in the market today and there are a variety of content management platforms available that support Content Syndication up to a limited degree. In addition, syndication is largely based on the digital assets supporting tangible products rather than true intangible assets. However, while normal content management systems are following the idea that content creators, managers and users are the same person, content syndication platforms provide a natural differentiation between those actors and usually provide support for remote content delivery.

An example of content syndication is with SAM RTD provider TIE. One of TIE’s main business activities is Content Syndication realized through its TIE Content Syndication Platform (TIE CSP [2]), serving content to more than 50 countries in more than 30 languages, creating more than 12 million impressions and more than 3 million unique visitors a month and used by the likes of Siemens, Avaya or Lenovo.

Content Syndication simplifies marketing processes, enhances the overall experience within the channel and, in some cases, used as a tool to generate leads for partners. Vendors providing this type of solution utilize a hybrid of syndication, email deployment, marketing automation, and web analytics as tools to aid organizations to reach their specific channel goals. This end-to-end model provides businesses with the ability to see and interact with the channel like never before.

What it is:

  • Automated Distribution of Digital Content to End Users through Partner Websites
  • Fully Automated (cobranded) Marketing Materials
  • Customized Partner Specific Web Content
  • Lead Generation for Partners
  • Reporting and Web Analytics on Content Performance
  • Complementary Solution to Web Content Management and Digital Asset Management Systems

What it isn’t:

  • RSS Feeds
  • Slow or Limited Content Updates
  • Content Harvesting or Content Scraping
  • Web Content Management System
  • Digital Asset Management System

Relevance to SAM

Content Syndication in SAM

This is the base of the SAM project. Based on Content Syndication techniques, the different types of content providers will prepare their assets so that they can be associated to specific media and context. SAM will provide the mechanism so that these complex assets can be discovered, associated to the user activity and delivered in the expected format to be consumed in the user context.

Digital Marketing

Directly related to Content Syndication is Digital Marketing. The Content Syndication mechanisms provide the mechanisms for products and campaigns information delivery and consumption.

State of the Art Analysis

Tools, Frameworks and Services

Except for TIE CSP, current Content Syndication techniques lack essential features in order to facilitate SAM objectives. Some of the gaps to be covered are:
  • Existing data import and characterisation mechanism are ad hoc and the costs and
    time of implementing them can discourage the content providers (especially SMEs) to
    use Content Syndication techniques, closing for them the opportunities to access new
    monetisation models.
  • Existing media metadata assets are not discoverable. Thus users have to explicitlysearch for data, instead of the data reaching them in an automatic way.
  • Brand and Consumer Protection. When a company is publishing information, it may wish to protect its brand image and reputation, but also to save their consumers from random, non-verified information or comments coming from non-trusted sources or other prosumers.
  • Content Providers and Information Brokers are still delivering their content in an off-lineapproach (partner BDS is an example) where data needs to be imported by further technical processing by each of the portals or applications that will use it.
  • Content providers and Information Brokers have little or no feedback (quantitative and qualitative) on how their provided data is consumed and what is the perception of the final consumers about them.
  • Crowd-sourced data enrichment is not available easily for the Information Brokers and Content Providers.
  • Services and content assets are split in the current content distribution approaches. Using SAM, Content Providers will be able to aggregate dynamic behaviour and services linking to their own data sets, linking them to services like shopping carts, recommenders, etc.
  • There are no generic ways of associating metadata and content to be triggered at specific times while a media resource is being reproduced.
  • 2nd Screen. Different mobile/tablet applications have been recently launched in to the market linked to specific infrastructure (such as Smart-TV routers) or consuming selfproduced information. The problem is that current 2nd Screen resources (content) are proprietary and cannot be shared in a generic way by other applications or platforms, and links or relationships with the content of these are not possible.
    Content Providers and Information Brokers are still delivering their content in an off-lineapproach (partner BDS is an example) where data needs to be imported by further technical processing by each of the portals or applications that will use it.

TIE Kinetix Content Syndication Platform

The TIE Kinetix Content Syndication Platform holds a simple five step process: the collection of content, the management of digital assets, the syndication of rich digital marketing materials, the activation of the channel and reporting. The objective is adapting these steps to provide content to the SAM Platform users. This solution provides richer multimedia content for the benefit of end users. This content will always reflect the latest updates offered, thus meeting the needs of all users.

The TIE Kinetix Content Syndication Platform is developed with the latest .NET technologies and AngularJS. It provides syndication of multiple kinds of content in to several destinations and kinds of devices in the same time based of pattern design such as publisher/subscribe. The system generates navigable code in the client side allowing a control about the content consumed by the user .One of TIE Kinetix main business activities is Content Syndication realized through TIE CSP, serving content to more than 50 countries in more than 30 languages, creating more than 12 million impressions and more than 3 million unique visitors a month and used by the likes of Siemens, Avaya or Lenovo, thus the maturity and stability of the technology is a strength point. TIE CSP is able to syndicate all kind of digital content in a fast and secure way and provide a customize information depending on the end user. In order to have a control, the system registers all activity in logs which can be used to generate reports and stats.

Other Syndication Platforms

There are however several companies that do specialize in providing the infrastructure but lack some of the above mentioned requirements for Content Syndication within the context of SAM. These include Zift Solutions[3] and Webcollage.[4]

SAM Approach

This subcomponent is part of the Syndicator component. It offers the means so that the different components and/or widgets can ask for information stored in SAM, taking into account the user context, the assets business constraints, etc. The Data API Service will syndicate the raw data and will interact with the Multi-device Representation component to provide the demanded information in the correct visual format. It will be also be accessed by 3rd Party systems Apps developed by external Software Providers (external systems). For accessing SAM information to be used i.e. by mobile apps, external web sites, etc.

Architecture and Dependencies

TIE Kinetix™ Content Syndication Platform (TIE CSP) has been previously selected as technology to use in SAM Platform , thus it will be necessary to enhance and adapt for its usage in SAM. The major decisions to take into account in the Data API Services are explained in the following points:

  • Data API Services will be used mainly in the prosumption scenario (run-time scenario), thus the selected technology should be able to provide a very fast and light answer to the multiple concurrent users in different kinds of devices. Therefore, the maturity and stability of the technology is a key feature to take into account.
  • The Data API services will provide rendered data in the form of microsites, videos, advertisements, etc. to be used in the client side (Dashboard or 3rd party apps). The component will generate executable code instead of static structures improving the interactivity at the client. The generated code will be navigable, so that internal calls in the client side allow the navigation through the syndicated content.
  • The selected technology will allow SAM to distribute the same content to multiple destinations simultaneously, personalising the information depending on the context (user profile, device, etc.). Server and client logging features will be implemented, augmenting the granularity of the possible feedback to be provided back to the user.
Syndicator Architecture

Implementation and Technologies

TIE Kinetix™ Content Syndication Platform (TIE CSP) is a platform based on the latest .NET technologies and state-of-the-art client technologies such as AngularJS. It uses the publish/subscribe pattern to provide syndication of multiple kinds of content in several destinations and devices at the same time. The system generates navigable code on the client side allowing control over the content consumed by the user. One of TIE Kinetix main business activities is Content Syndication orchestrated through TIE CSP, serving content to more than 50 countries in more than 30 languages, creating more than 12 million impressions and more than 3 million unique visitors a month and used by companies such as Siemens, Avaya or Lenovo. Therefore, it has proven track record of maturity and stability. TIE CSP is able to syndicate all kind of digital content in a fast and secure way and provide tailored information depending on the end user. In order to monitor end user activity (number of clicks, time in watching the content, geo position, etc.), the system registers all this activity in logs which can be used to generate reports and statistics.

Subcomponents

A summary of the tasks carried out for each subcomponent of the first version of the prototype is shown in the following table.

Subcomponent Task
Syndication Manager This subcomponent is in charge of controlling the interaction of the component with the different sources and components needed during the data extraction and delivery.
Syndication Controllers To communicate with the different SAM components it is necessary to implement controllers to manage the interaction with them. For this reason the component supports the following controllers:
  • Brand and Consumer Protection Controller for Brand and Consumer Protection
  • Cloud Storage Controller for Cloud Storage
  • Marketplace Controller the Marketplace
  • Context Control Controller for Context Control
  • Content Gateway Controller for Content Gateways
Syndication Generator The task of this component is to generate the information in the suitable format to be syndicated. The Syndication Generator receives the assets from the manager and the necessary information to represent it from Multi-Device component
Activity Logger This component is used to store and check specific activity generated inside the Syndication Manager component related to assets consumption (for accountability purposes). For instance, if a Content Provider defines a daily limit of access to their assets in the Marketplace; the Syndicator can check the number of times that a particular asset has been syndicated
Syndicator API Once the information is generated, Syndicator API syndicates the information into Dashboard or 3rd Party Apps

Functionality and UI Elements

Articles

References

  1. Internet Content Syndication Council http://www.internetsyndication.org/
  2. TIEKinetix Content Syndication http://contentsyndication.tiekinetix.com/
  3. Zift Solutions Content Syndication http://www.ziftsolutions.com/content-syndication.php
  4. Webcollage Content Processing http://www.webcollage.com