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The Guardian licenses content with tiered API management platform

British newspaper The Guardian has integrated a new API management platform that lets it monetize its digital assets with greater precision.

API Access Tiers, launched today by mobile service provider Mashery, lets The Guardian designate different levels of access to its digital assets for internal, partner and third-party application developers. By integrating the system, the newspaper can tailor-fit its content delivery scheme to more effectively monetize its online and mobile holdings.

?We needed to be able to offer different types of partners different levels of access,? said Matt McAlister, head of the developer network at The Guardian, London. ?We wanted a frictionless option for people intending to experiment.

?We wanted a self-serve registration and approval process for people wanting more reuse rights," he said. ?And, we wanted an access tier for partners that are doing bespoke work.

?It has been a fantastic enabler of our mobile strategy, giving us the freedom to innovate quickly and creating new kinds of partnerships with mobile app developers.?

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It claims that its Web site has the second-largest readership of any English-language newspaper worldwide.

Mashery, San Francisco, provides API management tools and strategic services for companies working in the digital world. Its clients include Best Buy, Netflix and The New York Times.

Streamlining mobile licensing
With the emergence of an increasing number of mobile technologies, content publishers have been scrambling to find new ways of monetizing their content.

?Mashery has seen case after case of media companies and other API providers looking for strategies to monetize content and work with developers across platforms,? said Oren Michels, CEO of Mashery.
?A key component to that challenge is managing developer access rights to their APIs.

?It?s the so-called goldilocks problem,? he said. ?Will the content being exposed via the API be too big, too small, or just right?

 ?No one wants to give away the family jewels for free and miss an opportunity to create a monetization strategy around allowing access to valuable, proprietary digital media assets.?

Using the Access Tiers, a publisher can group developers into different categories with different levels of access to its digital content.

The API Access Tier platform lets the publisher manage partner access to content, monitor API activity and collaborate with developer communities ? streamlining a process that otherwise would take significantly more manpower, per Mashery.

?This has been the missing puzzle piece to figuring out ways for media companies to open themselves, yet install layers of access rights to partners and developers based on their business relationship,? Mr. Michels said.

?For example, non-paying partners may be given unlimited access to something like article headlines or the first paragraph, while partners with whom a property has a business relationship may be given access to more, or unlimited, content,? he said.

The Guardian?s implementation of Access Tiers will work through its API portal, Open Platform, which the newspaper first launched last year.

 ?We've been working on a range of different types of commercial partnerships since we launched the Open Platform in beta in March 2009,? Mr. McAlister said. ?It became obvious to us very quickly that there were many different commercial paths and that no single solution was going to work for all partners. 

?So, it was crucial to be able to offer different levels of service,? he said.

Mashery?s API Access Tiers lets The Guardian satisfy this need.

The Guardian will use the Mashery platform to make its archive of articles, picture galleries, podcasts and videos available to developers.

Here is a screen grab of a Guardian iPad application that makes use of Mashery?s API platform:

Developers who sign up can access and reuse the content in order to bolster their applications? offerings.

Partnerships The Guardian has already established with developers through its API portal include those with and the Voter Power Index, an initiative advocating British electoral reform.

Through the Mashery platform, The Guardian can expand its network of business partnerships, and expedite the process of licensing its content

?We are always looking at opening up more services and adding more features and more content through the Open Platform,? Mr. McAlister said. ?We use the Open Platform for our own digital products and services, so it must be robust and comprehensive.?

Mashery, meanwhile, will continue developing and refining its platform.

?As the year goes on, Mashery will be enhancing API Access Tiers to provide more access control, traffic management, and analytical functionality to our offering,? Mr. Michels said. ?Mashery will also announce additional offerings that help companies manage their APIs more effectively.

?We believe that we are only at the beginning of new Web content strategies for media companies,? he said. ?It?s clear that the changing world of media consumption is creating a new world where content is multichannel and apps driven.

?As the platform or foundation for this new world of media and application development we?re excited about the future of our industry.?