As part of our Collectif, in which we feature the work of our partners (see more here), Joris van Lierop, MD of The Content Exchange, takes us through the current state of the world of content syndication. He explains why more companies are buying content, and how Artificial Intelligence is playing a vital role in making the process more seamless

What factors do you think are driving up demand for content syndication? What are the key industry trends?

What is most important is that the stories that are published deliver unique value to their audience. These are often the stories that need specific skill, knowledge, time and resources to create. Bringing valuable stories to audiences for a good price is the basis of what we do.

We are currently seeing traction in special interest areas like Business, Climate, Tech as well as longform formats, like interviews with celebrities, background stories and video. Stories that are shortform and are in the mainstream of storytelling are more challenging to syndicate to other publishers.

What would you say are the main reservations that media companies have in syndicating their content?

Companies want to be sure about rights and conditions. So, who is doing what with the content, in what countries is it offered, that it is not distributed to competitors and that they stay in control of pricing. This is especially relevant in the digital space, where we concerns regarding SEO playing a role. 

TCE addresses these issues by having a system that allows the publisher to control the publication conditions and that delivers canonical URLs for SEO purposes. As for pricing, we very rarely offer a ‘one price fits all’ use case. Rather pricing may be adjusted to the region or to the volume of the deal. We keep in close contact with publishers and buyers, to make sure both parties get the best deal possible. In the end, it is the content owner who decides.

How are you working with AI at the present time? And how will you work with it in the future? Does it offer ways for you to rationalise your processes?

At TCE we are already been working with automated translations. We can deliver all our text in 30 different languages. We are testing to see if the AI platforms can improve the quality of translation to support crossing language barriers. We are also test-creating summaries, which will make it easier for buyers to get an understanding of the content. 

AI will also be part of the discovery function on TCE. Already we create highly specialised topical content feeds for our buyers, but we believe AI can improve discovery for buyers and ensure they get the best content suggestions for their publications.

The internet now seems to be becoming more regulated around copyright. Do you think there may be threats to this, especially in the use of AI-created content?

By definition, AI relies on the work of others. That does not need to be an issue as long as there is fair compensation, fair retribution and transparency is taken care of. It takes effort, time and money to create quality content. It would be a violation of this process if tech companies treat all that work as a ‘free lunch’. It would not be only a violation of rights, but also completely self-defeating. Without good creators, there will be no good AI, so the publishing industry and the tech platforms should have a strong alignment on this, it is a mutual interest. 

TCE addresses both of the issues that are the most concerning about AI-generated texts. Firstly we ensure that rights and fair payments for content are arranged, and second, all text is delivered by quality editorial teams, ensuring the truth of the story – so no hallucinations or inaccuracies which will always be a hazard of AI ‘only’ operations.

Will you work with companies to syndicate AI-created content?

My personal opinion is that as long as the content that is created by AI does not need to be ‘true,’ but for example, its purpose is being ‘beautiful’ or ‘amusing’ it is more about the quality of work and it can be accepted on TCE. And of course, the rights need to be cleared, otherwise we cannot accept it. 

I believe it is much more troublesome if 100% AI-generated content is for example offered as ‘news’ for which ‘truth’ is crucial. Without any human checks on the validity of the content, we would not accept it since the buyer needs to be able to rely on the content we offer. In any case, ‘created by AI’ should be transparent.

How do you market yourself to media companies who might potentially need new content?

We deliver quality editorial content on any given topic for a fair price. It is efficient, economical, and offers high quality. It is as simple as that. The large publishing houses all have their internal content-sharing initiatives, for this reason, as it brings lots of cost synergies and frees up editorial teams to focus on creating other exciting stories. 

For publishers that are considering using AI for content generation, I advise them to have a good look at TCE. We deliver quality content in an efficient way, while we ensure that the original creator gets fair payment and the content itself has been checked.

What do you see as the future for content syndication?

That future is bright. Working with TCE often starts with small, first steps. It is a shift in the way of working, and sometimes feels strange from an editorial perspective to publish the work of someone else. But once publishers experience results and see the wealth of content that this collective network of editorial teams has to offer, they tend get excited about it. TCE connects editorial teams, and as an editor you take part in this growing network of creators and share/buy articles, while fair payment and retribution is ensured. In the publishing industry, there has been a long culture of islands. Yet the uprising of big tech in the last 20 years made everyone aware that you companies will not win the battle on the island, but by working together every publisher can be a powerhouse.

How publishers can get started with you, the process. 

Visit or just send me an e-mail: [email protected]. We are always looking for great content to onboard; that is for free since our model is transaction based. It starts with signing the license agreement and sending us the content. If you are looking for great stories, we create an online dashboard for you; showing all available content matching your areas of interest. 

A.O.B. we might need to know, also some background intro (HQ, staff numbers, well-known clients, etc).

We have about 100 publishing houses that work with TCE; we offer over 600.000 stories and videos, and up to now have sold stories in 17 different countries. We work with publishers like Future Plc, Newsweek, Roularta, DotdashMeredith, yet are just as proud of our many collaborations with smaller publishing houses like Medianation,, Infoplaza and partnerships with high-quality bloggers and freelancers. TCE is located in the Netherlands, HQ Vlissingen. We work globally but we have sales representation in Benelux, the UK, Germany and the Nordics, together with development and marketing, our team consists of 10 professionals.