Tribune beefs up metadata business with Gracenote acquisition

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Tribune agreed to buy Sony's Gracenote division, which provides metadata for digital media. The unit will be run out of Tribune's media services group, which will pay $170 million to Sony.

Tribune Media Services (TMS) and Gracenote both provide metadata--information related to the digital files such as who performed in a program or when a program is on TV--to digital media distributors. TMS has historically focused on TV content while Gracenote has focused on music. For years, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes software has used Gracenote to label the songs its users add to their libraries from CDs. 

But more recently Gracenote has branched out into video and provides metedata for a million movies and TV shows, a Tribune press release said. "The marriage of these world-class music and video data platforms, from TMS and Gracenote, will help us reimagine how people discover and connect with music, movies and TV shows across all devices," Stephen White, Gracenote's president said in a press release.

The acquisition will also reduce by one the number of companies online media distributors can turn to for metadata. Gracenote has annual sales between $100 million and $200 million, Bloomberg reported, citing a person with knowledge of the business. Sony bought the Emeryville, Calif.-based company in 2008 for $260 million.

For more:
- see FierceCable's coverage
- Tribune issued this press release 
- Sony had this press release 
- Bloomberg had this report

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