Washington Post software deal a double win for Bezos

Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:56pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) - 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 (AMZN.O: Quote), the company he founded and runs.

The deal, with Los Angeles Times-parent tronc Inc (TRNC.O: Quote), 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 customers.

AWS already counts publishers Hearst and the Guardian as customers.

Despite the Bezos connection, the choice of using AWS is not automatic, said the Washington Post.   Continued...

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence's SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts