Stand Well Back – Media Giant Pearson Releases Developer API

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Let’s all agree that traditional media companies have, for the most part, struggled with the Internet. It turned up on their doorstep a few years ago and, like a startled bull in a china shop, startled smashing up their business models.

Eventually various media outlets started releasing APIs so that third party developers could innovate on their platforms – although it’s been a double-edged sword. The Guardian newspaper released a full content API, advertising based, only for it for be used in an iPhone app called Today’s News which carried ads for the developer. That eventually got nixed.

Today international media giant Pearson is throwing its hat into the ring with its Plug & Play platform. This allows developers and startups to access three main datasets: the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, the Dorling Kindersley (DK) Eyewitness Guide to London and the FT Press business book publisher (that’s different form the Financial Times itself which has famously tangled with Apple recently).

Luckily that’s not all you’ll get. More datasets are planned for release, based on feedback.

A showcase shows how the data is being used so far. This includes an Android App with the Eyewitness Guide to London API.

Of course, the issue is always whether developers can monetise apps based on this kind of content and whether the media provider doesn’t one day turn around and stamp on something. But for now it’s looking good.