It looks like new Gracenote CEO John Batter is already making a mark on the company he only officially joined yesterday. Today the company is announcing that it acquired Baseline, another provider of information about movies and TV shows, in a deal worth $50 million.
Baseline is a Los Angeles-based company that has a comprehensive database of information about more than 300,000 television and movie projects. Its dataset has catalogues of information from some of the earliest film projects, in addition to news about ongoing projects. That includes filmographies of 1.5 million TV and film professionals to chart the different projects they’ve worked on, as well as historical box office data for about 45 different territories around the world.
The data firm had once been acquired by The New York Times company a few years ago, but was spun out and sold back to its previous owners in 2011. With the new deal, Baseline’s staff will join Gracenote, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the larger Tribune business.
Gracenote’s acquisition of Baseline comes just a week after it announced that it had a new boss. Batter left Dreamworks Animation and Technicolor joint venture M-Go to head up the company, taking over for Tribune digital head Shashi Seth, who has left.
Along with the new CEO comes a new strategic direction. While Tribune Digital had made a series of strategic investments and acquisitions under previous leadership, the Gracenote part of the business will look to be more wholly focused on metadata and what clients can do with it.
As a result, Gracenote continues to bulk up its data set and list of customers with the acquisition of Baseline. Batter admits that he wasn’t with the company at the start of its acquisition talks with Baseline, but he believes that it fits with the company’s overall mission. Furthermore, he was “in full support and involved in the completion of the deal.”
Batter is actually familiar with Baseline’s product offering from his time at M-Go. His former employer used a combination of data from both Tribune Media Services, which is now part of Gracenote, and Baseline, which will become part of Gracenote. That provided M-Go’s digital storefront with advanced filmographies of cast and crew members that customers could use to search and discover movies that they might not have otherwise known about.
Baseline will provide a whole bunch of new data Gracenote can sell to clients, but it also offers up a potential new client base. While Gracenote sells its products to consumer electronics manufacturers, video and music service providers, Baseline has a subscription offering that people in Hollywood use to keep track of what’s going on in the industry.
In fact, Batter says there’s very little overlap between them, which means there’s an opportunity for each side to grow as together they can provide more data to each set of customers.