| March 14
March 14 Billionaire Jeff Bezos scored a double
win this week as the Washington Post, the newspaper he bought in
2013, signed its biggest contract to date to sell web publishing
tools mostly hosted by Amazon.com Inc, the company he
founded and runs.
The deal, with Los Angeles Times-parent tronc Inc,
is a boost for the Washington Post as it looks to branch out
from its core news business against a backdrop of falling
advertising revenue for traditional media.
The newspaper's year-old service, called Arc Publishing, now
has about a dozen clients and is aiming for $100 million in
annual revenue. Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250
million four years ago in a private deal not related to Amazon.
"Thanks LA Times for choosing WaPo's Arc Publishing for your
digital platform, and kudos to tech team at The Post!" Bezos
posted on Twitter on Monday, when the deal was announced.
The deal indirectly benefits Amazon Web Services (AWS), the
world's biggest cloud-computing business and Amazon's
fastest-growing unit, which posted a 55 percent jump in sales
last year to $12.2 billion.
For AWS, Arc represents a new opportunity to extend its
reach into the publishing world, where a host of software
companies serve both news media and corporate clients that
increasingly publish material on the web to directly reach
AWS already counts publishers Hearst and the Guardian as
Despite the Bezos connection, the choice of using AWS is not
automatic, said the Washington Post.
"We will host with whatever cloud service gives us the
maximum value," the company's Chief Information Officer Shailesh
Prakash said in an email, noting it uses alternative vendors
Instart Logic Inc and Akamai Technologies Inc for
certain features. The Washington Post pays for AWS, he added.
"There's no doubt that this could prove to be a terrific
source of captive clientele for Amazon Web Services and an
interesting new market for them," said Jim Friedlich, CEO of the
Lenfest Institute for Journalism and a former Wall Street
"If it succeeds, as I suspect it will, it will be a
game-changer for The Washington Post," he said.
Analysts said the Post has taken a leaf out of the Bezos
playbook, making money out of tools originally built for
internal use, as Amazon did with the data centers that now form
the backbone of AWS.
Gene Munster, a veteran equity analyst and now head of
research at Loup Ventures, said Arc revenue will be small for
AWS but "is the type of thing that (helps one become) smart in a
vertical, that adds skills and features, that basically attracts
The Washington Post's revenue goals for Arc will not be easy
to achieve. In years past editorial technology has not been
immune to the wider problems facing the print media industry,
which has suffered plummeting revenue.
"Many brands are evolving (into) publishers including
financial institutions, and all of them need modern
story-telling tools," Prakash said. Revenue "could be
significantly less if we fail to grow this nascent (and
technologically challenging) business."
(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by
Jonathan Weber and Bill Rigby)