Silverman Cements a Deal, Bewkes Steps Up

cityfile · 12/12/08 11:09AM

• Ben Silverman and NBC have come to terms on a new contract. [B&C]
Jeff Bewkes is taking over as Time Warner's chairman. [Bloomberg]
• As expected, Newsweek is trimming both staff and circulation. [WSJ]
• Do his 8 Golden Globe nods mean Harvey Weinstein is on the rebound? [THR]
• CBS Interactive is restructuring and making major cuts. [PaidContent]
• Hugh Jackman will be hosting the Oscars next February. [THR]

CNET's odd math

Owen Thomas · 10/30/08 12:20PM

Kara Swisher's new pet media blogger Peter Kafka praises CBS executive Quincy Smith, shown here, for picking up CNET. Revenues were up 6 percent in the most recent quarter, with a 12 percent increase in display advertising. But wait a second: Aren't display ads most of CNET's revenue? The company also makes money through e-commerce referrals and the sale of marketing data — which suggests something went wrong enough in CNET's other businesses to blunt the welcome rise in advertising.

Gamespot editor's nemesis on way out of CNET

Owen Thomas · 10/07/08 03:00PM

At CNET, the heads keep rolling, nearly a year after Gamespot editorial director Jeff Gerstmann was sacked. Stephen Colvin, an executive who oversaw Gamespot, is out of the company, a tipster tells us. Gerstmann's firing came after a negative review of an advertiser's game, which made him a cause célèbre among gamers. What Gerstmann's fans will say: That Colvin and other suits are getting what they deserved for ruining the CNET-owned gaming site's editorial credibility. Josh Larson left CNET, now owned by CBS, in April. Colvin, a former magazine executive who was Larson's boss, joined CNET a year ago, shortly before the Gerstmann incident. His exit comes as CBS rejiggers CNET's generous benefits, our tipster says:

CBS sues NFL players over fantasy football stats

Nicholas Carlson · 09/08/08 05:00PM

The NFL players' union wants to charge CBS Interactive a licensing fee for its use of NFL player stats, going so far as to threaten to "put out of the fantasy football business" if it didn't comply, according to a suit CBS Interactive filed in Minneapolis as a response. Major League Baseball went through a similar suit, in which a judge ruled that players cannot charge for publicly available numbers. [PaidContent]

CBS overhauls CNET site — again

Paul Boutin · 08/28/08 12:20PM

CNET overhauled its site right before agreeing to be acquired by CBS in May. Now, CBS has another redesign ready to launch this week. You can probably guess: More video, more product placements. Here's the deets:

Puppet video reveals all you need to know about Silicon Alley

Nicholas Carlson · 06/26/08 11:00AM

Gary the Puppet — who in the clip embedded below tours the offices of Tumblr, Next New Networks, Gawker, CollegeHumor, and Wallstrip — might be the perfect metaphor for the New York tech scene. It makes a big show of itself, but it's kind of flimsy and despite how it may look, somebody much larger and more powerful is actually running things. For New York tech, the puppeteer's hand is old media companies. IAC and CBS own College Humor and Wallstrip, respectively. Tumblr has its roots in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. So does Next New Networks, which just agreed to distribute its videos over Hulu, a News Corp. and NBC joint venture. And what's Gawker but a tape worm in Old Media's belly? Still, New York tech has this over the Valley: perhaps because of those old media connections, it knows how to present itself with a hokey smirk instead of new media's typical sassback. looking to sell to CBS?

Jackson West · 05/28/08 07:00PM

Francisco worked for as a reporter for MarketWatch when it was part-owned by CBS, and also worked as a business anchor for San Francisco's KPIX, which is wholly owned by parent network CBS. But that was before an article by CNET reporter Greg Sandoval exposed her ownership stake in the online video startup focused on "innovators" and her financial relationship with Clarium Capital's Peter Thiel, a investor. Sandoval called into question her journalistic independence. Francisco resigned from MarketWatch, now owned by Dow Jones.

CBS interactive boss opens new VC exit ramp just off 101

Nicholas Carlson · 04/14/08 01:40PM

A Microsoft buyout of Yahoo will close yet another exit for venture-backed startups, but another buyer just opened shop in town. CBS Interactive plans to open a new office in Menlo Park. And frenetic dealmaker Quincy Smith is here to buy. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves recently told conference attendees that "online revenues are north of $200 million, growing 30 to 40 percent," but Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen said the company needs to make an acquisition soon to keep pace. Smith agrees. Last year, he promised to buy the next YouTube, "only a year earlier, when they were 1/32nd of their size." Tiny companies with zero revenues but excruciatingly high burn rates? Quincy, we'll keep you posted.

CBS Spokesperson Unintelligible On Layoffs; Weblogs Repeat The Blather

Maggie · 12/14/07 05:45PM

Explaining to the press why your company has just axed a slew of people isn't exactly fun times. It's even less fun when the people who have been fired are also members of the press. People don't like that! Sometimes the best bad-news strategy is to issue a memo providing copy to reporters while saying nothing at all! Like late this afternoon, when CBS News spokesperson Dana McClintock sent out a meaningless statement that says absolutely nothing about today's CBS Interactive layoffs—and everyone actually printed it, from FishbowlNY to the Huffington Post (which at least called it "not that illuminating") to TVNewser to the Observer's Media Mob. How bad is it? Read it for yourself!