This is an intriguing move for Tribune, and a black eye for Sony as it seeks savings and cost cuts. It paid $260M for Gracenote in 2008 and says today that it expects the sale to add $60M to its operating income. The firm specializes in metadata — the kind of information that enables other services including Apple’s iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify, and Xbox Music to recognize what song or TV show is playing. That could become important as viewers increasingly use smartphones and tablets while they watch TV. But Gracenote faces tough competition from services including Shazam. Tribune says that it will combine Gracenote with Tribune Media Services to create what it says will be one of the world’s largest entertainment metadata companies. With the transaction, TMS hopes to serve “new and exciting customers with better data, new products, and new services to help an evolving entertainment industry,” says Tribune Digital Centures President Shashi Seth. Gracenote President Stephen White adds that the union “will help us reimagine how people discover and connect with music, movies, and TV shows across all devices.” Gracenote has data for about 180M music tracks as well as 1M movies and TV shows. It also owns more than 90 U.S. and foreign patents.
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