Guardian launches open platform for free content, data

As newspapers look to their online operations as a potential lifesaver, one British newspaper is taking an additional step in its high-tech transformation.

The British newspaper the Guardian announced Tuesday it's launching an open platform designed to offer third parties free access to its content and data, in exchange for carrying the publication's advertising.

With the platform, the Guardian aims to ease the process for third-party developers to design applications and services using free Guardian articles, videos, photo galleries, and other content.

One partner, for example, has developed a service to encourage Guardian readers to geotag all of the publication's content, with the goal of making it easier for readers to find news, video, and other related information in their area.

The Guardian is also offering a free data service to third parties, allowing them to use the publication's statistics and data for use on their own Web sites.

In exchange for the free content and data, users would be required to carry Guardian advertising.

Newspapers and magazines have seen a pullback in advertising revenue over the years, as readership has dropped. Advertising rates are tied to circulation levels, which reflect the number of readers who subscribe to a publication.

The recession has compounded the problem for the newspaper and magazine industry, which has seen an acceleration in the rate of decline for advertising revenue.

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