While most media companies are exploring ways to build subscription revenues to replace ad dollars, Reuters is looking in the opposite direction. Though the company emphasizes that its traditional subscription model that supports most of the business is as vital as ever, Reuters believes it’s a good time to focus on building a larger ad business on top of it. The news service has struck a partnership with the streaming video aggregator News Distribution Network. Reuters will use NDN’s content, which includes online video from CBS (NYSE: CBS) News, E! Entertainment, Raycom Sports and others, and supply it to news sites. Reuters subscribers won’t be charged extra to run the videos. They just agree to run the content, while all three will share in the revenues, said Christoph Pleitgen (image, left), managing director of Reuters news agency for Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI). The initiative is primarily aimed at newspaper sites, but Reuters also believes it can attract online magazines and radio sites to the video sharing deal as well.
NDN will do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to ad sales, thanks to support from its existing relationships with ad networks like ScanScout. Pleitgen declined to say what the revenue split will ultimately be or to speculate on what sort of incremental dollars will roll in as a result.
The video-distribution plan is not directly related to Reuters’ recent website redesign, which was intended to build up Reuters’ consumer face. But Pleitgen did say it is a part of the general conceptual thinking at the news service in terms of broadening its presence and its revenues beyond Reuters’ professional audience.
Pleitgen said that the company is actively looking for other technology partners like NDN. “Our customers tell us they want quality content, but they also tell us it doesn’t necessarily have to come from us,” he said. “So we are actively looking for technology partners and content partners. In the U.S. market, we feel that that is the way to go. We have experimented with the ad-supported video distribution in other markets we’re in. We felt that the U.S. publishers were most ready for this type of arrangement.”