CBS picked up a number of interesting businesses when it acquired Cnet for $1.8 billion just a few years ago. One of those assets was TV.com, which had decades worth of information about all the shows on TV, like an IMDB for TV. In a video interview backstage at GigaOM RoadMap, CBS Interactive President Jim Lanzone said that community site TV.com will be getting a lot more personal by integrating technology from Clicker, his former startup.
Lanzone joined CBSi as president after it acquired Clicker, and has since been focused on product innovation throughout many of the company’s businesses, including Cnet, CBS.com and TV.com. It was a big change from just running Clicker. In our interview, Lanzone said, “The scale is different. Instead of one Clicker, I have 20 different versions of that and different teams that work on all of them.”
One initiative he’s been focused on is integrating the Clicker technology into the TV.com site. Prior to the CBSi acquisition, Clicker.com was being pushed as a way to navigate all of the videos on the web. The company launched two years ago at NewTeeVee Live with pretty standard search functionality, but evolved to be more of a personalized search and discovery engine. Meanwhile, TV.com brings a community of TV fans, which Lanzone believes dovetails together nicely.
“TV.com grew like crazy through about 2008 as the leading community site about TV,” Lanzone said. “We’re now bringing it together with Clicker, which brings all of the navigation and search and metadata about all the shows, social, which we did with Facebook, and creating a mega-site of the two of them, that will launch before the end of the quarter.”
In addition to bringing together Clicker and TV.com, CBSi recently redid CBS.com, making it a lot more visually appealing. Lanzone said the new site is built more for 2011 to 2021. “It’s a really cool site now,” he said.
Redesigning CBS.com and adding some of Clicker’s technology into TV.com are part of a bigger strategic focus on video, as the company hopes to cash in on higher CPMs that it can get from the massive audiences it has across its network. “One big, common theme is that we’re moving very quickly to video, since that’s probably the best way to monetize online, and we have to take advantage of that opportunity,” Lanzone said.