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Media companies learn to mash up at SXSW

March 17, 2009 |  3:47 pm

It’s been a few years since mashups became a hot thing in the tech industry. Companies would open their programming tools, known as APIs, to the public, and then enterprising developers would come up with new tools built on the company’s platform. Think of the way people merged apartment listings from Craigslist with Google Maps, or the way companies built applications that make it easier to read, post and search on Twitter.

Mashery, a San Francisco company, is now taking the concept to other companies, including some unlikely candidates. At the Circus Mashimus, a lounge the company set up at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, Mashery is showing off how it’s building APIs for the New York Times, Best Buy Co., Netflix Inc. and others.

For media companies such as the NYT, Associated Press, Reuters, and British newspaper the Guardian, Mashery enables developers to create applications using their content –- which in theory helps drive traffic back to those companies’ websites.

If the companies "wanted a new user experience, they’d have to build it," said Oren Michels, Mashery’s chief executive. "They know that they don’t know everything about what their users want. If someone else has an idea, let them build it."

-- Dan Fost

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