Late last week, reports surfaced of Demand Media and USA Today reaching a deal in which Demand would contribute content to USA Today’s website. This is interesting because it’s an example of the controversial Demand Media penetrating mainstream news media. I spoke with Demand about the partnership and the prospect of similar partnerships in the future.
Would you like to see more online news publications offering content like what Demand Media offers? Share your thoughts.
It’s Not News Content
Now, Demand is not contributing actual news content to USA Today, and this is an important fact to note. Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt has made it clear in the past that Demand’s content is not journalism. "Only the journalists call us journalists," he said on a SXSW panel I attended last month.
However, that does not mean that a news organization can’ find room for the kind of content that Demand offers. USA Today clearly sees some value there, without jeopardizing its actual news content. Demand is contributing content for a new section on USA Today’s site called Travel Tips, and Demand tells us this creates additional revenue opportunities for both parties.
"Travel Tips serves as a resource for travelers to provide functional tips and guidance on realistic situations," Demand Media Chief Marketing Officer Dave Panos tells WebProNews. "Readers who want practical advice, such as how to find low airfare and hotel rates, tips for traveling with kids on a business trip, etc. The Travel Tips section is initially launching with more than 4,000 unique articles from Demand Media and a new video series featuring Rolf Potts, the well-known travel expert, to attract audiences who will be engaged around the relevant and useful travel-related content that they seek."
"To enable this kind of partnership, Demand Media has built a fully scalable platform to commission, create and deliver high value content our partners’ websites," he adds. "It leverages the sum of Demand Media’s capabilities to predict valuable content topics, commission and manage the production of unique articles and videos, syndicate the content through the publisher’s website, and optimize the traffic and financial performance.
Part of Demand Media’s strategy moving forward is to look for partnerships with major media outlets. "This is the type of situation where everyone – the consumers, creators, media outlets, and us – all win," says Panos. "There is an interesting opportunity to incrementally grow the audience and increase revenue at mainstream media companies – in a way that doesn’t compete with what they currently do."
"Best of all, we can do it in a way that doesn’t require any investment from the media company – and that’s a welcome prospect in this economic environment," he concludes. "And on our end – we benefit from the expanded distribution and reach that these partnerships provide."
It will be quite interesting to see if more major media organizations take advantage of what Demand Media content has to offer. It may allow them to capitalize on more search engine traffic, while not having to compromise their own journalistic resources. Demand and USA Today split ad revenue from the content, and USA Today doesn’t have to pay for the content itself.
Is offering content such as Demand Media’s a good way for news companies to bring in some extra revenue? Tell us what you think.