CNN.com inks local deal with IB, video will be free

By Cory Bergman 

Big news at CNN.com. The site is expanding into local news with a deal with Internet Broadcasting to post stories from 70 of IB’s local TV websites, reports the WSJ. In exchange, CNN is taking a minority position in the company, and IB affiliates can post CNN stories. NBC-owned sites are not included in the deal, as they’re pursuing a similar track with MSNBC.com (see our earlier story). CNN says the arrangement is designed to drive up traffic for both partners. Also, this summer CNN.com is planning on rolling out a redesigned site with all of its video available for free — a fundamental shift away from CNN Pipeline’s subscription model — and local video could be included.

In my opinion, both moves make strategic sense for CNN.com. There’s tremendous growth potential on the local level, and local TV sites are looking for more scale. On the video front, CNN Pipeline’s subscription model has always been a head-scratcher for me, although I think CNN.com has done a great job with Pipeline’s technology. A free Pipeline could become a competitive advantage for CNN.com in its battle with MSNBC.com.

Your thoughts, everyone? (Story is WSJ, subscription required. Thanks, Drake!)

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