Daniel Schaible is the founder and COO of License League, a company that helps publishers monetize their content at the article level. NAA caught up with Schaible about the License League’s work with newspapers, how he sees the future of media and more.
What drew you to working in news media?
Being the third generation in newspapering, I literally grew up in the business and over the past 30 years, I’ve worked for Advance Newspapers, News Corp., Thomson Newspapers and Hearst Newspapers. I’m one of those people who really have a driving passion for journalism and its role in preserving a democratic society. In our present market situation with media, that passion translates into supporting journalist’s jobs, and that’s why I created License League.
Tell me about License League and how your organization works with newspapers.
License League is about creating a delivery channel to be able to monetize content at the article level in an aggregated format. We cater to the public relations and communications marketplace and those are people that monitor the media to know what is being said about their company or product. So, we make the content feeds and licensing available to them on behalf of the publishers. The publishers establish the fees that we collect. We retain a percentage of those fees and send the balance on with usage reports to the publishers.
We are trying to create a relationship between the content users in the business scenario and the publishers. The way it works right now is that most publishers will have a relationship with an aggregator or an intermediary, not directly with the end user of their content. We ultimately want to change that.
What is the most exciting thing License League is currently working on?
We are trying to get a group of publishers organized to work as a collective, to regulate and promote the use of their content. Think of it as a rising tide lifting all boats. Instead of having someone like the Associated Press or Dow Jones go out and make a market statement about the use of their content, we want people to be aware that any content they use needs to be supported. There should be just as much risk associated with the non-complaint use of the content from the Idaho Fall Register as there is with the Wall Street Journal.
What is your primary business objective for the next 12 months? Why?
We plan to work with the publishers and end users to expand the rights that we can sell in the marketplace. We want to be able to provide rights that are more closely aligned with how users actually want to make use of the content.
To that end, the products the users want to create need to be identified for the publishers so that the publishers are comfortable with what’s being done with their content, and can have dialog regarding a fair and equitable price for the use. In turn, users will be encouraged rather than discouraged in their use of the content and, most importantly, paying for it.
How do you see the future of news media?
The way content from news sources is being used is changing dramatically and ever so quickly. Content is being consumed through aggregated formats. People don’t get their information directly from the newspaper or magazine; they get it more and more through social media and aggregated digital channels.
The engagement by the consumer with the advertising supported product model is changing. We need to look at the evolving ways the consumer is taking in information and come up with viable models that promote the use of content, yet allow publishers to monetize that content to support the newsrooms. I have had discussions with Tom Rosenstiel, Executive Director of the American Press Institute, about some of the really exciting ways he envisions this might be accomplished.
From a brand perspective, the pyramid has turned upside down. In the legacy model, you have the brand at the top then you create products based on the markets you want to access. Then, you create content to fill those products that you believe are going to be of interest to that market. The last thing that’s done is the formation of the content inside the products to support the brand.
In the new world, where people are using brands at the article level, there is no product. So what happens to the brand? It’s now at the bottom and it only represents the credibility of the article, that’s the only purpose of the brand. The same is happening in the business world. Business users are accessing and using content from an aggregator, not from the original source.