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Digital Dealmakers: Keith McAllister, Mochila

Oct 7, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The player: Keith McAllister, CEO of Mochila, an online marketplace for content such as video, text and photos.
The play: Mochila is an online collective of sorts, pulling copyright-cleared content from a range of sources. Web sites and publishers using the service can sign up to provide content or to use content.
The pitch: Content owners who provide their content to Mochila can customize how it is to be used, such as circulation, reach and types of Web sites. “[With the software] we have made those checkboxes so you can just decide what you want done with it,” Mr. McAllister said. “The big content owners feel safe because they have control and they can scale their licensing.” Because the rights have been cleared, sites that request content via Mochila can keep the content on their sites, and thus keep viewers there, too.
In the mix: Mochila’s partners include the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Getty Images, Reuters, CNET, BabyCenter.com and Belo. Mochila has been adding “long tail” sites to its mix that focus on niche content, such as blog site talkingpointsmemo.com.
Backstory: Mochila was founded in 2001 as a publishing automation company. The company evolved and brought Mr. McAllister on board in 2005 to turn Mochila into an online marketplace. Mochila has been operating its service commercially since April 2006.
The money guys: Mochila recently closed a B round of funding with Charles River Ventures and Greenspun Corp. Mochila will not disclose the total amount of venture funding it has raised. Mochila is currently operating profitably, making money from ads and licensing. From ad revenues, Mochila receives 30 percent, the content publisher 40 percent and the site that republishes 30 percent.
Pros: Publishers who want content for their site can acquire it in a number of ways, either a la carte for a fee or via revenue-sharing on the ads. Mochila has deals in place with several ad networks. Publishers also may supply their own ads.
Cons: Mochila offers an unusual proposition, and explaining the business model can be tough.
Background: Mr. McAllister was born and raised in New York. He studied English at Amherst College. He spent 18 years at CNN, most recently as CNN’s executive VP and managing editor of national newsgathering. He is 46 and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three sons.
Who knew? Mr. McAllister is a native New Yorker and says Knicks basketball legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier is still his idol.

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