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Portals to Profit

LOOKING TO DEPLOY a consumer content portal but not sure where to start? Synacor Inc. has entered the market to help ISPs, CLECs and resellers establish a Web presence in the crowded broadband market.




Synacor-enabled Cav.Tel.net, Cavelier Telephones private-labeled consumer content portal

We sell tiers of content on top of DSL, fiber or cable broadband service, says Patty Hirsch, director of partnership management at Synacor. We can build it, host it, provide a single sign-on for the end user and consolidate the charges to the service providers bill. The portals are private-labeled, so the user sees only the service providers branding.

Synacor has aggregated more than 30 online content and application providers, which it bundles into various packages that service providers can mix and match.

This is for ISPs, second-tier telcos, cable companies and others that want to offer premium content but may not have the resources or expertise, says Hirsch. We allow them to offer content at a fraction of the cost of what it would be if they did it themselves. Because of our volume we serve 12 million end users consumers get $40 to $50 worth of content for around $7.99 per month.

The hosted service ties into provider back offices, so they can provision, support and bill for multiple services offered as part of a single rate code. Resellers can choose and change the rate card for the services as they wish. They pay for usage, and are charged a set recurring cost per subscription and a set cost for transactions like permanent music downloads, as they happen. Providers then mark up those rates to consumers as they choose. The recurring costs show up on the access bill, while any transactional charges for downloads can be billed to a credit card or to the bill, depending on provider preference.

Synacor bundles include security with antivirus, firewalls and parental controls, a sports package, a family offering of general interest content that includes gaming, weather, sports, news, learning tools and greeting cards, and a music service.

Cavalier Telephone, a CLEC in the Mid-Atlantic region, launched CavTel.net using Synacor, with news, entertainment, careers, an online photo service and more. Subscribers get a personalized portal with enhanced e-mail, greater spam control, enhanced security and parental controls, premium pop-up blocking and online game services. The site also provides easy access to Google searches as well as customizable content.

Midwest cableco Midcontinent Communications took a different approach with its Synacor-enabled Midco.net, a portal for broadband customers that offers e-mail and free content such as news, weather and sports. Midcontinent also introduced premium online services including the MidcoNet Plus best of the Web package, and MidcoNet Tunes, an online music subscription service.

Links
Cavalier Telephone www.cavtel.com
Midcontinent Communications www.midcocomm.com
Synacor Inc. www.synacor.com

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