A new startup, Memo, is planning to dangle a new revenue stream in front of the hungry publishing industry by selling earned media insights and information on a per article basis.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Memo works on the observation that advertisers are clamouring for more and more granular data. Memo’s pitch is that it will sell audience metrics – including page views, scroll depth, and engagement time. It plans to launch in January.

So far, the publishers signed up to the service are Meredith Corp., Buzzfeed, and PopSugar, said founder and CEO Eddie Kim, in comments to the Journal. He added that one Unilever brand and several other retail and DTC firms have signed as clients. The company also believes that an important client base could be public relations firms.

“From the publisher’s perspective, it’s from an entirely new buyer base – the PR and communications industry,” Kim said. “It’s 100% gross margin for the publishers because the data’s already there,” he added, referring to the internal article analytics that publishers collect for their own information, but do not currently monetise.

Memo intends to split revenue with publishers, who have traditionally lost out to measurement firms or ad tech providers, which have built a business of using publisher data but not paying for it. Clients will pay an average of $100 for data on a story and the price will vary depending on the size of the industry concerned.

In comments reported by MediaPost, Kim stated that with the Memo model, “there is less risk of editorial conflict versus advertising where an editor is fully aware of who is placing ads on their site.” In the Memo model, he says, editors will not be made aware of which articles data are being purchased.

“The biggest change is that we’re allowing publishers to participate in an economy that’s been built off their backs, and in which countless other companies are taking the monetary benefit.”

Sourced from Wall Street Journal, MediaPost; additional content by WARC staff