CBS (NYSE: CBS) will pay international news site startup GlobalPost a monthly fee to provide it with online dispatches as a way to re-energize the network’s foreign news coverage, the NYT reported. Time was when CBS and the other major broadcast nets had far-flung international news bureaus. But cutbacks in the face of dwindling ad revenues and the competition from cable and online ended those days. As for whether this arrangement could suggest any closer tie-up between CBS and GlobalPost, it doesn’t appear that way at this point as CBS rep said there was no equity or investment aspect to the partnership.
GlobalPost, which went live in January, has mainly been supplying newspapers with reports from its roughly 70 correspondents who are stationed in 50 countries. The site has steadily been adding more video over the past few months as its traffic has grown to what co-founder Philip Balboni claims is 400,000 monthly uniques. The CBS deal comes as only one of Boston-based GlobalPost’s three revenue streams has been paying off. The site has so far signed about 25 syndication deals similar to the one with CBS, but display advertising continues to disappoint, while its subscription-based Passport Service, which costs about $100 a year, has only drawn a few hundred paying customers.
The addition of video, along with the higher profile that comes with being attached to CBS, could help GlobalPost attract other major news organizations, who have continued to lay off reporters and editors. GlobalPost’s correspondents tend to work part-time and many of them are casualties of newsroom cuts.