The Strategic Use of APIs


Looking for change, challenge, growth? Increased innovation across your organization? New content models and revenue? A new audience acquisition strategy? The ability to knock out the competition? Then think about giving third party developers to access to your content and data in a structured and open manner via APIs -- Application Programming Interfaces. APIs represent a way for publishers to develop new sources of revenue by increasing content distribution fueled by technology and bringing outside ideas in.

Consider Twitter and the constellation of products created by third party developers in its orbit. Twitter provides users up-to-the-minute content on a continuous basis and generates ad revenue through sales of promoted tweets. Twitter is a relate-able and familiar model to publishers.

By allowing third party developers access to its content, Twitter invited innovation from the outside in, increasing the use and value of its content and boosting its revenue. Third party development using Twitter’s API makes Twitter even more useful and draws a larger user-base to its content. Twitter’s ongoing evolution holds valuable lessons for those producing and distributing content.

Innovation, Increased Data Use, Expanding Audiences - APIs provide external talent the ability to develop novel useful new pathways to your content which increases data use and revenue and helps companies innovate and evolve past its competition. Providing access to content and data in a structured and open manner for third party development provides the opportunity to design entirely new ways for existing customers as well as new customers to experience content.

Successful publishers understand the importance of aligning content to the capabilities new technologies bring. It’s a tough job since publishing as an industry has traditionally under-valued and under-funded R&D and struggles with accepting external ideas. APIs represent the next step in developing new ways of presenting and pricing content as well as meeting the expectations of an audience which is constantly growing in technological sophistication.

Monetizing APIs, Controlling Access to and Pricing Content -APIs offer endless possibilities to monetize content which are limited only by the imagination of app developers. Technology exists for controlling the access to and securing content as well as the tools necessary for monetizing it.

Old-timey revenue and pricing models publishers are already familiar with: ad-supported, transactional and subscription as well as somewhat newer models like DaaS (Data-as-a-Service) can be implemented in conjunction with systems for tracking and billing for data usage.

APIs and Expectations - Across industries and businesses APIs are redefining how companies develop their products and conduct business and the steadily escalating growth of APIs will influence and shape expectations about how content is accessed, used and priced.

-- Nancy Ciliberti

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