New outlet allows TV stations to sell news to Web Sites

ClipSyndicate, a new online service, now allows television stations to sell their news stories on the open market to Web sites seeking specialty video content.

ClipSyndicate allows broadcasters to generate new revenue from local news content that has typically had a short shelf life.

Local stations have failed to attract audiences to their Web sites, but given the fascination with online video, that model is changing. Web sites and bloggers are now willing to pay stations to rebroadcast content relevant to their target audiences.

A service of the New York City-based online video search company Critical Mention, ClipSyndicate now indexes videos from Bloomberg, the Associated Press and other news outlets. Web publishers then visit and search for clips they like. ClipSyndicate allows Web sites to show the clips only as long as they are not the broadcast companies themselves.

Publishers, the New York Times reported, either pay an undisclosed fee to ClipSyndicate each time they show a clip, display their own ads with the clip, or can run the videos with ads sold by ClipSyndicate and earn five percent of the advertising revenue. The video's owners, meanwhile, receive 30 percent of whatever revenue is generated from each clip.

The ClipSyndicate service has not yet signed up major advertisers to show its ads, but Sean Morgan, Critical Mention's chief executive, told the Times he did not expect any difficulty in attracting marketers. “We haven't put any advertisers on yet because we're still focused on aggregating content, but all the advertisers we're talking to say it sounds like it's going to work.”

Agreement on that point came from Allen Weiner, an analyst with Gartner, a technology consulting firm. “(ClipSyndicate) gives stations a viral audience that's potentially as large as what they'd get through their commercial medium,” he told the Times. “And because a significant part of the audience may be outside the local area, regional or national advertisers have a reason to be part of the mix.”

The newspaper cited KTVX, an ABC affiliate in northern Utah owned by Clear Channel Communications. Through ClipSyndicate, the station sold video news footage of a student pilot who flipped his plane to, a site interested in such subject matter.

Jason Gould, general manager of Inergize Digital Media, a unit of Clear Channel that manages the online operations of Clear Channel stations and others, told the Times that the ClipSyndicate service provides “a whole new revenue stream.”

Clear Channel, he said, had sought ways to generate revenue from the about 500 stories its affiliated stations broadcast daily — and the archives of videos from the past two years — but with little success. Having no mechanism to take the footage to market, Gould said ClipSyndicate was “a no-brainer” for ClearChannel.

Internet companies that show the videos are also pleased with the service. “This has worked beautifully for us,” said Richard D. Stamberger, chief executive of SmartBrief, which distributes e-mail newsletters to about 1 million subscribers, and who recently began including videos from ClipSyndicate in those newsletters.

Subscribers, he added, have clicked on links to the videos at the same rate they click on links to text stories in the newsletters, which typically focus on a particular industry.