Morgan Stanley Syndication report

I just finished reading the Morgan Stanley report on news syndication from analysts Mary Meeker and Brian Pitz. The report focuses a lot on Yahoo!’s moves into supporting RSS throughout the site, and what Yahoo!’s move to syndication means for publishers. Overall a good paper with busness arguements from a business-oriented source. Some interesting snippets from the 15-page report:

While Google’s search engine and advertising tools set the pace for new ways of searching information, we believe that Yahoo! may be setting the pace for new ways of serving information.

Bold statement, but no other major player has embraced the technology. No mention of Yahoo!’s Korea weblogging tool interestingly enough.

[W]hile desktop applications like NetNewsWire and NewsGator provide powerful tools for organizing and reading RSS feeds, a universally available platform such as My Yahoo! provides for greater portability from computer to computer or from computer to other devices, without the need to deal with locally saved profiles. There will more likely be a market for both, but for syndicated content to overcome a “techie” stigma and reach the mainstream, it will most likely do so via the Web. Moreover, RSS technology may not necessarily be the future standard for syndication; simply, we feel that RSS has become shorthand for syndication, in the same way that MP3 was shorthand for digital audio for the longest time.

I do not agree with the first statement. Desktop aggregators are working on sychronization between computers as well as Web-based services. NewsGator, one of the companies mentioned, is a good example of a company that plays in both worlds. Safari RSS is a desktop tool that will overcome the “techie stigma.” I like the acknowledgement of RSS as “shorthand for syndication” and not a reference to an ecosystem that can only exist with RSS as the only syndication standard.

In our model, Yahoo! potentially serves as an “agnostic” Associated Press, collecting freelance pieces from the Web, and distributes a portion of revenue generated by advertising in each one of its syndicated papers, meaning each of those personal syndicated feeds that users set up. It is not unlike Google’s AdSense for Content platform, but in this case the entire service is done within the confines of a single site.

Wow. Seems like a big undertaking and definitely something that is on FeedBurner‘s radar but I never thought of Yahoo! getting into the game through Overture. Tie your feeds to your Yahoo! ID and you have a system ready to go. I still think the best way to add feeds to a feed reader is through alternate link parsing. I do not want to play favorites by adding a button for users to add the feed to My Yahoo!, NewsGator, FeedDemon, NetNewsWire, etc. I have defined where the feeds can be found and technology can step in to connect the two together.