New York Times Buys Online Entertainment Database

$35 Million Acquisition Adds to Newspaper's Growing Digital Media Operation

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Moving another step away from the troubled print newspaper business, The New York Times Co. acquired Baseline StudioSystems from Hollywood Media for $35 million.
Times CEO Janet L. Robinson says the acquisition will provide 'enhanced content offerings and improved advertising opportunities.'
Times CEO Janet L. Robinson says the acquisition will provide 'enhanced content offerings and improved advertising opportunities.'

Grow digital revenue
Baseline's database contains more than 1.5 million records with facts, analysis, statistics and news about the entertainment industry, which the Times Co. will license to industry professions and provide to readers along with advertising. The deal is part of the Times Co.'s plan to grow revenue from its digital operation as the newspaper ad business atrophies.

"Baseline's content aligns well with all of our internet properties, particularly NYTimes.com, which already has a strong entertainment franchise on the web," New York Times Co. CEO Janet L. Robinson said in a statement. "It will provide NYTimes.com with enhanced content offerings and improved advertising opportunities."

A number of leading studios and TV production companies subscribe to Baseline's service, which includes development information. Baseline, based in Santa Monica, Calif., also has licensing and syndication agreements in place with Yahoo, Lycos and Bloomberg to carry its content.

Incorporate content into NYTimes.com
The Times Co. plans to incorporate the content, including star biographies and filmographies, into NYTimes.com and possibly some of its other websites, which include About.com, as a subscription service.

Revenue for Baseline is expected to reach $6 million in 2006, and the Times Co. characterizes the operations as "highly profitable." The acquisition has been structured as a cash-for-stock purchase.

The Times plans to keep Baseline's operations under its current management, President Rafi Gordon and Exec VP Alex Amin, but it will function as a separate unit reporting to Vivian Schiller, senior VP-general manager, NYTimes.com, and will be part of The New York Times Media Group.

Hollywood Media formed Baseline StudioSystems in June 2004 following its acquisition of Baseline and StudioSystems. Baseline's revenue constituted 5% of Hollywood Media's aggregate consolidated revenue for the first six months of 2006. Other Hollywood Media properties include Hollywood.com, Broadway.com, Theatre.com and its interest in MovieTickets.com.
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