ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE – Mochila has created the first and only online marketplace for syndicated content from hundreds of content providers. Providing an opportunity for content providers, advertisers and publishers alike, the company has been flourishing at a time when many are at a standstill. CEO Keith McAllister gave ADOTAS some insight to the inspiration behind the company’s inception, and the just what continues to make it work.
ADOTAS: Where did you find a need for a platform like Mochila?
KEITH MCALLISTER: The idea for Mochila came from publishers of newspapers and magazines who wanted a new model for acquiring high-quality content, a free, on-demand, and ad-supported model that allowed publishers to get any content they wanted at any time.
ADOTAS: Where does Mochila excel at providing these things, and where can the firm improve?
KEITH MCALLISTER: Mochila continues to grow rapidly, adding nearly half a million new content assets each month and distribution has grown 35x since late last year. More than 400 of our 3,800 members are mid-tier sites using Mochila to acquire free ad-supported content. And an increasing number of brand advertisers are starting to use our products. Our challenge will be to continue to scale to meet demand and ensure that our products meet the needs of our partners.
ADOTAS: With so much syndicated content online, how is Mochila able to protect content from being used for malicious purposes?
KEITH MCALLISTER: Mochila is designed to give content owners a safe and controlled way to distribute content. We do that in essentially two ways. First, Mochila is a closed system; publishers need to apply for membership (the process takes an hour). Second, Mochila has proprietary licensing technology that allows content owners to set customized licensing rules on their content—down to the asset level. That means content owners can determine who they want to do business with and under what circumstances. Further, content owners have total visibility and control, so they can change those licensing rules at any time if they choose to do so.
ADOTAS: How does Mochila turn a profit?
KEITH MCALLISTER: Mochila makes money by taking a share of the advertising revenue associated with the distributed content. Mochila has a flexible model that allows Mochila, ad network partners, or publisher partners to sell the ad inventory. Mochila is a privately held company and doesn’t release financial information.
ADOTAS: Any possible plans to go public? Has this been discussed seriously before with the company? Are you waiting for a specific time in the market?
KEITH MCALLISTER: Mochila is a private company and we don’t share proprietary information.
ADOTAS: Where have publishers and advertisers each found benefit in using the Mochila platform?
KEITH MCALLISTER: Mochila is the world’s leading source of high-quality rights-managed articles, photos, and videos, supplied by 360 of the world’s top media brands, including the AP, Reuters, Getty, BBC, Hachette, Hearst, Rodale, msnbc.com, the knot, babycenter, and hundreds more. Mochila makes this content available to publishers for free with advertising support. Mochila’s publishing products include a full suite of highly customizable widgets that can dynamically power parts of web pages or entire websites. The benefit to publishers includes increased user engagement, traffic, ad inventory, and revenue.
For advertisers, Mochila provides reach to targeted audiences in the context of highly trusted content. Mochila supports standard IAB units as well as providing highly customized sponsorship opportunities across a variety of content verticals and publishing products.
ADOTAS: How has your approach to the space changed since the beginning?
KEITH MCALLISTER: Mochila focuses on providing solutions to mid-tier and large publishers. Over time, we’ve had to make our products and customer support increasingly sophisticated and customizable so that we can meet the unique needs of each publisher. Our goal is to partner with publishers and help them build their businesses with content.
ADOTAS: Was there a strategy in not focusing on smaller publishers as well? Have you experienced an interest from smaller publishers for your products?
KEITH MCALLISTER: We work with publishers of all sizes, but our focus is on websites between than 100,000 and 5 million unique monthly visitors largely because that’s the segment that combines vertical focus, quality audiences, and fast growth and which advertisers want to reach. That said, thousands of smaller publishers have joined Mochila and help themselves to our publishing tools and the content in our marketplace. We’re happy to have them.
ADOTAS: Have you seen any changes in the industry that may affect the way you do business in the future?
KEITH MCALLISTER: One key driver behind our strategy is the increasing desire of brand advertisers to reach target audiences in a setting that’s controlled as well as compelling. Because Mochila’s technology enables us to dynamically publish custom widgets or sections or micro-sites across thousands of publishing systems, a major focus is on building a new way for advertisers to have brand ownership of distributed content, content which is high-quality and highly relevant to both the brand and the user.