CM is offering Syndicaster free for 2 main reasons, first because they want to incent broadcasters to use it widely, in turn helping CM's Clip Syndicate unit build a gigantic library of clips to syndicate around the web (as Sean says "to lubricate the digital broadcast syndication market"), and second, because they can. How? Because Critical Mention already takes video feeds from 240+ broadcasters covering 85%+ of the U.S. population, digitizing them for its CriticalTV search and monitoring system. I'm assuming that beyond development, there's little incremental cost in running Syndicaster.
Sound a little confusing? To simplify, there's a web of product offerings, all powered from the same underlying infrastructure. Actually, it's a very cool example of the scale opportunities in digital media. Once you've collected the data (in this case video, which is also transcribed into text), there are multiple products, markets and customers to serve. And it also shows that traditional hardware/software solutions continue to be at risk in the Internet age.
Syndicaster's now being offered to 450 initial broadcasters. Soon, others can sign up too. Sean and Sharon also gave me a sneak peek into some other upcoming stuff. All very interesting. Keep an eye out for more soon.