The Reuters deal to provide business content to the International Herald Tribune online and in print — and share revenue with associated advertising — could, I think, be a model for other news organizationst to take care of commodity news.
Why shouldn’t newspapers across the country — which have pretty universally bad business sections — do likewise for national and international business news? Why couldn’t ESPN provide them with national sports? People magazine with celebrity news? Prevention with health news. And so on and so on with brands and content from Consumer Reports to TMZ. It also makes sense for chains to centralize the editing and production of commodity news.
This is more than syndication: buying a piece of content. This is a form of outsourcing — you take care of that so I don’t have do (and so I can concentrate on my real value — hint: local). And it’s not unprecedented. When I was Sunday editor of the Daily News in New York, I worked to get the Tribune syndicate to take over not just the supplying of content for but the editing of all the paper’s TV listings and coverage so we could have taken the two headcount devoted to that and use them for more valuable reporting. This is also what a colleague of mine and I pushed the Associated Press to do online many years ago when they started a cobranded news destination site when we said they should have cut themselves up to be distributed wherever. It’s widgetthink and though CNET refuses to call what they’re doing widgets — I wouldn’t know why — it is also engaging in a distributed strategy, according to PaidContent.
It makes sense for both ends of the transaction: The creator of the content gets distributed and gets revenue without having to create a destination and market it and generate all its revenue there. The aggregator gets content at low cost and risk with a good brand and gets to devote resources to its unique value: Do what you do best and link to the rest.