Cynthia Littleton of Variety takes a look at how the pending acquisition of CNET will help CBS boost its online presence.
Littleton writes, “San Francisco-based CNET’s brand names include the vidgame-centric GameSpot.com; the tech news and product review-driven CNET news.com, ZDNet.com and TechRepublic.com; music-fueled MP3.com; and TV.com, which boasts one of the Web’s largest and most detailed TV series databases. Other sites with obvious tie-ins with CBS’ TV and radio operations are the foodie haven Chow.com, parenting-themed UrbanBaby.com and business management-oriented BNET.com.
“Most important, from CBS’ perspective, CNET is not a new-media hotshot rooted in future promise but a brick-and-mortar operation generating significant revenue and earnings in the here and now. Last year, the company harvested earnings of $79 million on revenues of $403 million. Perhaps the strongest endorsement of CNET, founded in the prehistoric Web era of 1992, is that it survived the dot-com meltdown of 2000-2001.
“The combination with CNET will vault CBS into the top 10 companies in the U.S. in terms of Internet traffic, with an estimated 54 million unique users per month and a base of 200 million users worldwide.
“‘This is meaningful, no-fooling, real revenue,’ CBS Interactive prexy Quincy Smith says of CNET, which bills itself as the 10th largest Internet network in the world. ‘It gives us immediate reach and an immediate footprint. And the great thing is, there’s not a lot of overlap between (CBS and CNET’s) properties and the user base.'”
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