Chicago-based Tribune Media Services has added two more linchpins in its quest to become the premiere source for entertainment listings online and off. Today, the Tribune Company unit will announce its acquisition of Milwaukee-based JDTV, which distributes show times and editorial to the cable and satellite television industries, and also runs the online infotainment magazine UltimateTV. That site is located at www.ultimatetv.com.
Online, TMS is the exclusive provider of listings to America Online, and publisher of TVQuest, a personalized Web guide to all national and local television listings. Other entertainment-focused Web publishers, such as Gist, purchase listings information from TMS. Offline, TMS has approximately 300 U.S. clients, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.
Barbara Needleman, TMS vice president, database and advertising products, said the two properties should work well together. "UltimateTV has more of an editorial feature angle," she explained, "which makes it very complementary."
Said Michael Drescher, co-founder of JDTV, "With Tribune, we'll have even more ability to meet the appetites of the 'high entertainment household,' and help them navigate what's coming through that box, and do it under one quickly identifiable brand."
The news comes on the heels of TMS' purchase last Thursday of Golden, Colo.-based Premier DataVision. That company distributes movie show times and advertisements to newspapers, producing more than 2,000 unique ads each day. "TMS provides TV listings and they're one of the best in the business," said PDI president and founder Blane Newton. "Now they'll be able to offer movies right along with TV."
Since all three companies are privately held, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Also last Thursday, TMS launched MovieQuest, a Web site featuring show time listings and movie descriptions for more than 24,000 screens around the U.S. The site includes reviews by national critics and an opt-in e-mail reminder feature.
TMS employs 170 editors to collect movie information, including plot synopses and actor bios, used to enhance television listings. "The cycle from theatrical release to video to television gets shorter and shorter," said Needleman. "[The PDI acquisition] lets us collect information sooner in the process, and we know it's very accurate." She added that PDI has technology for automating data collection and transmission which will be useful for TMS' television business.