Demand Media on Thursday debuted a new service for publishers to pad their online offerings with the work of independent freelancers. Two of the first properties to employ Content Channels, so-called, include Hearst Corp.'s SFGate.com and Chron.com.
"Hearst is the second major publisher to select our product for their sites," said Steve Semelsberger, SVP and general manager of the Business Solutions Group for Demand Media. (The first major publisher was Gannett's USA Today, which recently employed Demand to power its "TravelTips" section.) Semelsberger said Demand Media's studio team worked closely with the editorial teams of both SFGate.com and Chron.com to make sure the Content Channels met their editorial standards.
In the case of the Houston Chronicle's Chron.com, the team worked with Demand Media to create a "Small Business Resource Center" to complement its existing business news coverage by incorporating thousands of business-related articles and videos. Content Channels also went live this week on San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate.com for its "Home Guides" section.
According to Semelsberger, the articles and videos featured on both destinations were created by some of the most seasoned and highly rated professionals in Demand Media's freelance network.
Demand Media licenses its Content Channels under a revenue-sharing arrangement with host publishers. Most often, Demand Media claims to underwrite the cost to create and serve the content, and manages the ad programs associated with the implementation of the Content Channel program. Publisher partners, meanwhile, will likely be responsible for selling display advertising for the Content Channels-powered sections of their sites.
Although averse to the term, Demand Media is lumped in with other "content farms," which automatically assign "stories" to nonprofessional freelancers based on user interest and their search engine optimization potential.
Officially big business, Yahoo in May agreed to buy top Demand Media rival Associated Content for a reported $90 million. Sites where such content regularly appears include Demand Media's eHow.com and LIVESTRONG.COM.