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Well, it isn’t exactly the acquisition I was hoping for, but close, and probably for the better: BNO News, of the popular @BreakingNews Twitter feed and the BNO iPhone app, is launching its business syndication venture, called BNO News Wire, and MSNBC.com has signed on as the first client. Along with that, MSNBC.com will take over the management of the @BreakingNews Twitter feed starting next month, while BNO and its 20-year old Dutch founder Michael van Poppel will now focus on developing its subscription-based wire service to sell to news companies.
BNO’s new wire-service headlines will now be fed into the Twitter feed, along with the usual third-party headlines that it aggregates. The wire service will formally launch in January and will build on some of the original stories that BNO has started doing of late, such as this and this. The BNO premium subscription-based iPhone app is not part of the MSNBC.com deal; some wire-service stories will go on the iPhone app but the ull slate will only be for the paid news media clients.
Details of the financial arrangement were not disclosed, but I confirmed from MSNBC.com that it doesn’t involve an investment or equity stake in BNO News. Instead, MSNBC will be a paying client of the service. What else does MSNBC.com get out of this? For one, control over one of the biggest breaking news Twitter feeds, at almost 1.4 million followers, compared to MSNBC.com’s own breaking news feed at about 40K followers. MSNBC.com likely will also link to its own stories through the feed, thus driving more traffic to their own site.
BNO says it is now in talks with other publishers, though remains to be seen whether rival publishers would be wary of the MSNBC.com connection. The other unsaid part: now that it will be developing a premium wire service, some of the third-party sources in the news feeds may start asking for compensation, though that might be a tough go considering that its Twitter/iPhone feed is bare headlines only.