It’s been announced that Yahoo! are partnering with ABC News in the US to share stories and web video series. According to the Poynter website:
”Their sites will have editorial independence, but the news outlets will share content, co-produce coverage of some news events and have “integrated bureaus” in New York, Washington and Los Angeles, “ABC News has historically languished low on the list of major news brands in terms of Web traffic,” notes Brian Stelter, “but the tie-up with Yahoo may help change that.” ABC News calls the deal “a game changer.”
As Rafat Ali (disclosure – he works with Edelman) ” Every year or two, Yahoo! News does a “major tie-up”, every few it disappears into ether. Why will it be different this time?” He cites previous announcements about partnerships between Yahoo! News and the Huffington Post, Gawker, Current TV, Gannett, and two previous deals with ABC!
The theory behind this kind of announcement is a digital company partnering with a traditional media company – Yahoo needs the video content and programming of ABC, ABC News needs the digital footprint of yahoo in the US. It ought to be a fair exchange that works for both of them. The problem with these kinds of announcements (and believe me I have announced plenty of them in the past myself!) is they are easier in theory than practise.
Editorial cultures, brand issues, ownership, first use issues, rights, the difficulty of making savings and not increasing costs to exploit the opportunity.. can all conspire to make reality substantially less than theory. And too often, having taken the PR boost of the announcement, the energy to push through the practical detail evaporates.
On the other hand – unlike Rafat – I think this one might work for the US. It’s a great example of Traditional and Digital (or Hybrid as Edelman calls them) working together to jointly exploit more of the new media landscape. It’s becoming clearer that, structured in the right way, digital media and traditional media are complementary and don’t need to cannibalise each other. And both Yahoo! and ABC need a significant boost in their markets – so the motivation to make this one real (unlike others in the past) is significant.
UPDATE: See Harvard’s Nieman Lab analysis here.