NY Times Sells Baseline Data Product to Previous Owner

The little publicized asset, bought five years ago for $35 million, was up for sale for the better part of a year

The New York Times has sold the film and television database Baseline StudioSystems to Project Hollywood, the company announced late on Friday. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the New York Times is believed to have received a fraction of the $35 million it spent to acquire the site from the very same owner. The timing of the news as the Yom Kippur holiday dawned was probably indicative of that fact.

Also read: NY Times Reports $120M in Q2 Losses, But Online Subs Up

Mitch Rubinstein and Laurie Silvers of Hollywood Media Corp. sold Baseline to the New York Times in August 2006. Their new company, Project Hollywood LLC, was the buyer on Friday. 

Neither side commented in the terse news release.

Baseline, a database with comprehensive film and television development data, is one of the entertainment industry's least publicly-known but widely used tools. But it has been challenged by digital upstarts such as IMDb, with its user-generated database. 

The company has been up for sale for the better part of the year with a number of potential buyers sniffing around the entertainment industry database before ultimately passing. 

The Times, which has struggled as the news industry has been destabilized by the Internet, sought to sell the database as a non-core asset.

Last quarter, the Times reported net losses of nearly $120 million, citing overall declines in print advertising.

Here's the press release:

NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES, Oct 07, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) –

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) has sold its Baseline unit to Project Hollywood LLC, a privately held company which is majority owned by media and Internet entrepreneurs Laurie S. Silvers and Mitchell Rubenstein. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Baseline, based in Los Angeles, Calif., is a leading online subscription database and research service for information on the film and television industries, and a provider of premium film and television data to Web sites.