SBJ/Oct. 7-13, 2013/Media

Deal with CineSport will boost USA Today Sports video content

USA Today Sports Media Group is planning a sizable increase in its original digital video offerings after striking a multiyear deal with New Jersey-based video producer and distributor CineSport.

The agreement provides the Gannett-owned USA Today Sports Media Group access to syndicated game highlights and press conference video footage. But the core of the pact is the infrastructure that will allow for the creation of original content using USA Today and other Gannett talent. The company’s online video efforts before this had been described by its executives as a “hodgepodge,” largely involving footage from Gannett-owned local TV stations.

“The relationship we’ve crafted here is a nimble one that gives us the latitude to do a lot of interesting things,” said Tom Beusse, USA Today Sports Media Group president. “This really accelerates the development of our digital video efforts, which obviously have become crucially important.”

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the pact involves a mix of upfront payments by USA Today Sports Media Group for access to CineSport’s digital video production infrastructure, and a revenue share on advertising sold through the partnership.

CineSport supplies video content to numerous major newspapers, including The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and New York Post. But the deal with USA Today Sports Media Group, which typically ranks in the top five among U.S. digital sports properties in monthly comScore rankings, gives the 6-year-old CineSport its largest outlet from a reach standpoint.

“USA Today is a really big player in this space, and this is by far our biggest opportunity to show what we can do,” said Gregg Winik, CineSport chief executive and a former NBA Entertainment executive.

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