Content syndicator Mochila, fresh from securing a small $1.5 million funding round, has hired MediaLink LLC to help guide its strategy and named the company’s founder and CEO Michael Kassan to its advisory board.
In an interview with paidContent, Mochila CEO Benjamin Chen said that the New York company retained MediaLink for devising additional ways of driving ad revenue. By adding Kassan to the board, Mochila is hoping to benefit from his connections to major advertising and content brands. In particular, Kassan will also find new partners for its new “white-label” platform, where publishers can create their own syndication platform.
While Mochila’s network is full of blue chip content names like Reuters (NYSE: TRI), AFP, Getty, Gannett (NYSE: GCI), Scripps and others, the aggregation business is suddenly getting a bit more crowded.
For example, the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) has started a site called Trove, which will collect news from 10,000 sources and personalize it. Separately, WaPo also is one of the backers of a subscription-based aggregator, Ongo, along with Gannett and the NYTCo (NYSE: NYT), all of whom provided $4 million in funding each to help launch the site last month.
It’s a far cry from a few years ago, when 10-year-old Mochila had to coax media companies into stepping outside of their walled gardens and distributing their content more widely. While paywalls have been generating interest too lately, the idea that online publishers are more and more likely to have their content read outside their branded sites is well established.
With the job of evangelizing pretty much done on the content front, Mochila can concentrate more on creating a broader set of advertising approaches.
“We already have direct sales force internally and external rep firm, so the arrangement with MediaLink and Michael is about creating more strategic alignments,” Chen said. “We’re looking at both the large and small publishers, new media and traditional. With advertisers, we want to have deeper engagement with the brands. We want to get more in front of the CMOs.”
Kassan noted that he tends not to take on advisory roles at companies. Speaking at the end of an Asian trip, Kassan cited his years long connection with Chen and Carolyn Bekkedahl, Mochila president and chief revenue officer. He was initially introduced to Mochila by Jon Miller, who, as a principle in Velocity Interactive Group, was an early investor in the company. “I’m a little old-fashioned, I guess, but I believe that you’re only as good as the company you keep,” Kassan said. “And Mochila has a lot of great people around it.”