GlobalPost.com, an international news website launched by two longtime Boston journalists, landed its biggest partner - CBS News. But whether the Boston-based site will be financially viable is still unclear.
The alliance, announced this morning, does provide GlobalPost a well-known established platform to promote its brand of global news from its 74 correspondents based in 50 countries.
"Think about our correspondent core as a first line of defense of CBS News,'' said Philip S. Balboni, the site's co-founder and a former executive at New England Cable News. "We can feed information back to CBS in the event of something important happening to that country that could take the form of a phone interview that gets cut into a piece that CBS might do, whether its a reporter package or something the anchor does. It builds awareness of GlobalPost and more and more people to come to our site.''
CBS News would use GlobalPost's content for its online and TV broadcast division.
Paul Friedman, executive vice president of CBS News, said in a release, "With this exclusive arrangement in place, CBS News will have unmatched access to first-rate journalists whose expert knowledge of the countries they live in and cover."
The partnership comes as the website is marks its ninth month since inception. Balboni raised $8.2 million last year to start the website with Charles M. Sennott, a former Boston Globe foreign correspondent.
But despite the site's growth - the site has 400,000 unique monthly visitors with a goal of 600,000 a month by year's end - GlobalPost remains unprofitable.
"That is years down the road,'' said Balboni. "Our goal is to be profitable by early 2012."
Balboni and his 16 full-time employees at the site's Boston waterfront offices are working to make that happen.
He noted that the site generates revenue in three ways: display advertising, syndicated news partnerships such as the new one with CBS, and a paid membership service. Subscribers to the site's Passport Service, which allows members to vote on which stories should be covered and listen in on editorial news conferences with reporters, number about 500.
CBS will pay GlobalPost a monthly fee for use of its content. Balboni would not disclose the amount.
The site does have other partnerships for compensation with other news outlets including the New York Daily News.
Despite an advertising slump that has affected traditional media, the site continues to push for more advertising, locally and globally. Among its bigger clients: Bank of America, Tufts University, Singapore Airlines, and Liberty Mutual. Beginning next week, Merrill Lynch will be another advertiser, Balboni added.
"It's been an amazing successful year so far in many respects,'' said Balboni. "I am very encouraged. We've had a great response to what we are doing."