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CBS News Acquiring Video Blog Wallstrip

New York celebrity, gossip and news blog Jossip was reporting today that CBS News (CBS Corporation) was acquiring Jossip’s fellow New York blog Wallstrip for approximately $5m in cash with a formal announcement likely early this week.

I try to stay away from reporting on rumors but sources and information regarding this deal are credible enough to suggest it is highly likely the rumors are dancing around truth – though the price may be exaggerated.

Wallstrip is a video blog characterized as one part Saturday Night Live and one part CNBC.   It’s comedic, off-beat approach targets Generation Y and the so-called "YouTube Generation" with 3 minute episodes covering stock market news or corporate with a less than traditional tone.

Wallstrips’s audience is growing but it is not yet substantial and its content is considered inconsistent. It’s most popular episode was a show spoofing CNBC’s Jim Cramer. That episode generated 30k viewers in January. According to a Business Week article Wallstrip did reach 10k viewers in its first three months.  

While Wallstrip did receive 500k in Angel investment, from a technology standpoint there is little to no innovation worthy of acquisition – the site is built using Revver (a YouTube competitor) for its video technology and the open-source Wordpress platform is the foundation of  its website. Wallstrip’s website at this time is not directly ad-supported leading to reports that the company has revenue of $0. Jossip got that part wrong. Revver, the platform Wallstrip is built on (and distributed through) shares revenue from ads incorporated into the video 50/50 with the content creator. Revver’s revenue sharing system is well documented in their sites Frequently Asked Questions section. Still, Wallstrip’s revenue is likely small.

The rumor being reported is that CBS wants the services of Wallstrip’s host, 29 year old actress Lindsay Campbell for its own online, and possibly TV, news services.   (Lindsay’s bio and background can be found here on her personal site. She is originally from Northern California, has a degree from Stanford, and has appeared a number of New York based TV shows including Law and Order and the Sopranos.)

It’s not unrealistic that Lindsay’s caught the eye of folks at CBS. She extremely attractive and manages to comes across as more than just a pretty lady. She is well educated, credible and articulate, balanced with a style that feels hip, casual and light-hearted enough to appeal to younger audiences in Gen X and Gen Y. It’s certainly true that CBS is actively developing its online presence, including last weeks investment in Joost.  Lindsay may fit into that, and based on the rumor, would only sign a contract if Wallstrip was acquired.   

It’s unclear what underlies a price tag of $5m, or if that information is accurate.  Even as a relatively low dollar number, it seems exorbitantly rich for a start-up of Wallstrip’s stage based on available information, and likewise, however talented Ms Campbell may be, and however creative a method of recruiting/hiring personnel, $5m is an exorbitantly high cost for corporate headhunting.

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