In a new move to expand its Internet presence, The Washington Post Co. has invested $11 million to buy an interest in Internet Broadcasting Systems Inc., which will create World Wide Web sites for six Post-Newsweek television stations, adding them to a network of local TV stations' Web sites.
IBS, with headquarters in Minneapolis and New York, develops Web sites for TV stations, offering online news, advertising and information aimed at local Internet audiences. The sites also share content. With the addition of the Post-Newsweek stations, the IBS network will have more than 40 U.S. channels, reaching about 35 percent of U.S. households plus a large coverage in Canada.
"They're definitely one of the leaders in getting TV stations plugged into the Web," said Steve Outing, a columnist with Editor & Publisher.
The Post's investment, by its broadcast subsidiary Post-Newsweek Stations Inc., will give it an 11 percent equity interest in IBS.
"This partnership will allow us to maximize our investment in our own content and extend our brands as well as our advertising reach more aggressively across the Web," said Alan Frank, president of Post-Newsweek Stations.
"Most major media companies, The Washington Post company certainly included, are making key strategic investments in a wide variety of interactive media companies," said Peter M. Zollman, principal of Advanced Interactive Media Group in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The challenge, analysts note, is to find the right investments.
"It's very hard to forecast where all this is going," said Bill Whyman, an analyst with Legg Mason Precursor Group in the District. "One way of testing things is by taking small stakes in companies, see how it works out and adapt and evolve as you go. If you wait, all of a sudden, something has happened" and it's too late to catch up.