More Eyes on the Brand: TriggerNews Multi-Brand Edition

News Technologies LLC has introduced the latest member of its TriggerNews family dubbed TriggerNews PL Multi-Brand. The product, announced in late August, builds on the company's premise that information consumers need meaningful ways to bypass the information overload problem presented by the open Web and publishers need to get content to them in more targeted ways. For TriggerNews, that means delivering exactly what users ask for straight to their desktops.

The company offers a subscription-based product that allows users to define categories of interest along with "trigger" words so that appropriate news—text, audio, and video—is delivered to a desktop reader. News Technologies firmly believes that the quality of sources matter to users, so it does not scour the open Web. Instead, they are building a network of content partners like the Associated Press. The company also sells a version of its product that allows companies to deploy a private-label-branded delivery mechanism for their content called TriggerNews PL.

The company's latest release, which company president Steve Burrows calls, "the next layer up" from its private label product, allows companies to go beyond simply deploying TriggerNews PL and build a network of co-branded partners. The new system means that a company can offer its different divisions a version of the TriggerNews product that will bear a specific localized brand and be customized to suit a given audience while including generally applicable information from the parent company. For a publisher, it means that they can populate specific content across multiple brands or partner with other publishers to sublicense their content to reach new audiences.

Rick Nixon, the company's VP of operations, says, "We took our single-label private news product, TriggerNews PL, and added a significant code layer that allows multiple co-brands in the system. Each co-brand can have their own publishing rights, which means they can market content to their own user base without it going to other users of the system." Each co-brand partner's content offering is also enhanced by that of the "master publisher."

Nixon says that once a master publisher licenses the product, "we give them the ability to create co-brands. They create branding imagery for the co-brand, create pointers in the system to the co-brand, then they can create an installer that references the co-brand and distribute it—in three to five minutes of work."

For traditional publishers looking for the latest syndication opportunities, building a co-branded network could mean new content licensing revenue as well as ever-important new eyeballs for their content—and their brand. Nixon describes how it works for one of their customers, "Forbes is a master publisher hosting the services on their own servers. They strike distribution deals with partners like Zacks. Zacks can then send content to its user community but the content that they send out will not go to Forbes users or to any other of Forbes's co-brand partners." Forbes can issue content to any or all co-brands within the system because they are the master publisher and, while the Forbes brand doesn't feature prominently on the desktop client of each of these partners, its content is attributed and awareness is increased. The master publisher can also define branded categories, tabs, or alert distributions within a co-branded product.

Another client, AccuWeather, works with over a thousand partners. What they plan to do, according to Nixon, is build co-branded client applications that will appear on all of these partner sites. "Let's assume the partner is a newspaper," he says, "readers would visit the site, download the client to get their news, and receive AccuWeather."

"If you put it into the context of a larger corporate setting, it becomes clear," according to Nixon. "If you have divisions within a company that have specialized and unique installed bases as compared with other divisions in the company, they can create their co-branded version to speak specifically to their users."

Returning to the basic premise of TriggerNews—delivering requested content directly to the desktop—Burrows says, "Why go find the news if the news can come to you? From the people I've talked to, TriggerNews changes user behavior. People click through because they are interested." He boasts click-through rates of 12 to 20% and believes that the product's analytics give companies powerful ad sales tools saying, "With the analytic statistics we offer, I think that companies in the media industry can use these numbers to go to advertisers and get higher rates." The new version offers "significant enhancements" to the analytics including tracking the methods people have used to access content through the system—how many are using pop-up alerts, mini sliders, or email to receive their content. The analytics can be viewed either at the co-brand level, so they learn information specifically about how their content is being used, or by the master publisher to better understand the activities across brands.

But with competition for desktop delivery emerging in the form of RSS readers, will users choose to go with specific brands over broader offerings? Burrows says, "The content coming through RSS readers is through a variety of sources, so it is still information overload." Nixon adds, "Some RSS systems are hooked up to an automatic scanner that goes through thousands of sources so you'll just get a sea of information flowing toward you and it isn't very useful. The benefit of the TriggerNews system is that it allows you to troll for information of high interest to you."