eMeta Helps Businesses Manage Digital Assets

Thursday Aug 14th 2003 by Kevin Newcomb
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Securing and monetizing digital assets isn't just for large publishing companies. eRightsWEB is a hosted service that also allows smaller companies to more efficiently provide content on a subscription, pay-per-use, pay-per-click basis.

The days when a business could easily quantify and secure its products are gone. Many companies large and small no longer have their investments strictly in physical assets. To help companies manage and productize digital assets, eMeta Corp. on Wednesday launched eRightsWEB, a hosted version of its eRights Suite of content protection and commercialization products.

"Our focus is on content commerce," Jonathan Lewin, CEO of eMeta, told ASPnews. "The eRights Suite is a set of software products that allow you to secure and monetize digital assets."

In addition to targeting large publishers -- The New York Times, McGraw Hill, iVillage, Thomson Financial, and Standard & Poors are among eMeta's customers who pay between $250,000 and $600,000 for the eRights Suite -- eRightsWEB has a lower cost version that Lewin says will appeal to companies who are building online businesses, whether they be smaller publishers or big publishers with a smaller Web presence. eRightsWEB starts with a $10,000 flat fee, and then takes 10 percent of all transactions processed by the system.

The major components of the eRights Suite are RightAccess and RightCommerce. RightAccess focuses on securing the content, making sure customers are identified and allowed access only to content or products they've previously purchased. RightCommerce handles the billing and payment part of things. It can support many business models including subscriptions, pay-per-view, pay-per-click, gifts, free trials, micropayments, promotions and special offers.

All of eMeta's focus is on online goods. What they found before entering the market four or five years ago was that companies were focused on hard goods, building software applications that would help an Amazon.com or a Buy.com, with big product catalogs, thousands of SKUs, inventory management, Lewin said.

"We're focused very much on digital assets, which is a bit different. You don't have inventory, because it's continuously fulfilled. Subscriptions, pay-per-view and other ways of selling online goods become more important."

"Although these companies are smaller, and may not be making $100 million online, they still need the flexibility and the functionality," Lewin said.

eRightsWEB allows publishers to own and manage their content, customer experience and data. eRightsWEB's customer-facing pages are customizable to mirror the publisher's site navigation and "look and feel." Minimal changes are required to a publisher's systems, as content continues to reside on its Web servers.

While the focus is on digital content, the software can be used to manage all types of digital assets, including content, software downloads, and online gaming. Competitors include Digital River, which focuses more in the downloadable software market, Javien, BT Click & Buy in Europe, and FirstGate.

Adapted from ASPnews.

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