Basically, Tribune will leverage VMIX's technologies, such as user-generated videos, blogs and polls to spice things up on its newspaper sites (like the LATimes.com and chicagotribune.com). There will also be access to VMIX's extensive content.
I had a chance to talk to Greg Kostello, who is the CEO and founder of VMIX. According to him:
"Forward-looking newspapers like Tribune are combining the best of the interactive and participatory nature of the web with the value of providing first-rate news for their readership. They are leveraging their built-in regional community and providing the kind of online experience that people have come to expect. This means not just consuming news but interacting with it, responding to it, and even providing content for that community. Video and media sharing is one of the key factors. It helps drive community by allowing people to share their stories. "
For example, he brings up an interesting example: that is, a local newspaper can allow the community to post videos of varsity football and baseball games.
I also asked him about the latest announcement from YouTube, which plans to provide revenue-sharing for its users. His take:
1. I think paying filmmakers is a really good idea, but there are a lot of problems with a pure rev-share model.
2. A rev-share model requires paying the right's holder. Most video-sharing sites, YouTube included, do not ensure that the content provided comes from the owner. Without this information and a system for verification it will be very difficult to ensure that you are paying the true owner of that content. Once you have a paying model, you will also need to make sure that any included media, like the music soundtrack or embedded clips, have also been cleared.
3. "View fraud," similar to click-fraud, is going to be a real problem. When there is a strong financial incentive by someone uploading content to game a system, there will inevitably be problems. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) already spends a tremendous amount of ongoing resources trying to prevent click-fraud. A lot of thought and continuous effort will be required to keep the gamers at bay. This isn't just a financial problem; "view fraud" has a real chance of skewing the results for many of the charts on YouTube. If the gamers win, the community will lose.
Tom Taulli is the author of various books, including the Complete M&A Handbook and the EDGAR-Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements.