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Pearson (NYSE: PSO) plans to let developers re-use more of its varied content, after its latest effort repackaged 2,500 recipes from its cooking books as a chargeable API.
The group began its developer programme in 2011 with three APIs, so that developers can re-use its Eyewitness Guides city data, Longman dictionary definitions, and Financial Times press releases to create new products.
Last week, Kitchen Manager, a collection of recipes from Pearson’s cooking books, became the fourth API, but its first to require payment for full use. Pearson is using the Zuora online payment platform to process billing for the API, but developers don’t need to pay until they hit a certain monthly usage rate.
“The ‘big idea’ for us here is to enable others to innovate around content that we own,” Pearson’s future technologies and partnerships SVP Juan Lopez-Valcarcel tells paidContent.
“We cannot expect to have all the bright ideas come from inside our office walls, hence opening up a set of APIs in a platform and creating a developer outreach programme.
“This is not rocket science for any technology company but it is a big change of culture if you look at it from a more traditional publishing company lens.
“Developers can access the sandbox for free and then get charged based on usage levels. It is not a revenue-share structure.
“We are ramping up more APIs very quickly. The three pilot datasets allow us to learn about usage of education content, education databases and consumer-facing products.”
Hackathons and developer initiatives are becoming commonplace amongst media operators that want to involve themselves in the web. The Pearson case study is interesting since much of its content is locked up in premium and high-end databases.