New York -- A group of former network-news executives plans
to launch a Web site that it hopes will attract broadband Web surfers with news feeds from
broadcast and cable networks, local radio and television stations and documentary
Announced last week, The
FeedRoom.com Inc.'s CEO is former CBS News executive vice president Jonathan
Klein, who oversaw newsmagazines 60 Minutes and 48 Hours before he left the
network last year. He also led the launch of the former CBS Eye on People, which Discovery
Communications Inc. later bought, renamed and will soon fold.
Klein said the site, set to launch during the second
quarter, will initially focus on the 14 million workplace users and 10 million college
students who have broadband Internet connections. With analysts predicting that broadband
penetration will reach 27 million households by 2004, the company will target home users
in the long term, he added.
While news sites such as Cable News Network's CNN.com are some of the more popular
destinations on the Web, the market for broadband news content remains untapped, Klein
said. "In the online news space, there's no dominant player. There's not yet emerged
the CNN of broadband," he added.
Content deals with Reuters Group plc and USA Today
were the only agreements FeedRoom.com announced. Reuters will provide video content, while
USA Today will create rich media graphics. Video clips offered on the site will
range from two to four minutes.
Klein said the company has also reached content agreements
with a "couple of networks, a couple of station groups and a couple of documentary
providers." He added that the company has a deal with one of the cable all-news
networks, but Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC officials all said they haven't reached a
deal with FeedRoom.com.
"We're in advanced conversations with several
[all-news networks] -- CNN is not one of them," Klein said.
A sample screen shot of the upcoming site that FeedRoom.com
sent to reporters last week featured MSNBC and NBC's Dateline. But Klein said no
content partners "should be interpreted from that."
FeedRoom.com recently recruited three executives from
MSNBC. Josh Empson, who was a segment producer on The News with Brian Williams, is
the company's executive producer; former MSNBC technology producer Jeremy Newberger is a
producer; and former MSNBC executive Rachel Siegel is finance manager.
FeedRoom.com will rely solely on advertising revenue, and
it won't charge users subscription fees. Klein said the company won't pay content
providers fees, but it will give them cuts of ad revenue.
In addition to talking with broadband Internet-service
providers about distributing the product, the company plans to pitch the idea to MSOs,
Klein said, adding that he also sees big potential in distributing FeedRoom.com through