The Long Tail Bazaar

What if publishers could break content into byte-sized packages and sell it in an iTunes fashion? That seems to be the business model of Mochila the New York firm that calls itself “the first global online marketplace for print, audio, video, and photo content.” The company’s web site offers this brief description of the service:

“Are you an editor in search of high quality feature content? Are you a publisher looking to monetize assets? Do you need a unique and powerful licensing engine that gives you total control over price, licensing rules, embargoes, and exclusions across all your content – with an ability to adjust those rules for EACH INDIVIDUAL ASSET? Mochila combines advanced data management technology, a sophisticated search engine, and e-commerce technologies to revolutionize the commerce and syndication of content.”

Although Mochila bills itself an all-media bazaar it appears to have debuted as a reseller of print content. A press release says its partners include:

“Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Metro International, MediaNews Group, Freedom Communications, Liberty Group, Fast Company, Inc., Working Mother Media, Entrepreneur Media, Rasmussen Reports, and The Greenspun Media Group.”

Mochila appears to be aimed at branded publishers and thus may be of little direct use to content startups. Nevertheless content creators ought to cheer any effort to establish a marketplace for ideas. Mochila notes that consumers worldwide spent “just under $2 billion on syndicated news content last year.” In contrast Wired News says record labels report “$4 billion in ring-tone sales to date.” I’d like to think that original writing was at least as valuable as personal ringtones.

Or perhaps the professional (as in paid) content creator is passe. During a recent interview on Rocketboom, tech guru Dave Winer praised amateurs, as in the sense of hobbyists:

“Amateur is not below professional. It’s just another way of doing [media]. The root of the word amateur is love, and someone who does something for love is an amateur. Someone who does something to pay the bills is a professional. The amateurs have [more integrity than] the professionals. If you’re an amateur you have less conflict of interest and less reason not to tell your truth than if you have to pay the bills and please somebody else.”

Thanks to Poynter’s Amy Gahran for highlighting Winer’s comment.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media