CBS Acquires TV Guide For Online Video Clicker, Jim Lanzone Named President Of CBS Interactive

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CBS has acquired Clicker, a TV Guide for internet programming, according to a release just issued by the companies. Clicker’s CEO Jim Lanzone has been named President of CBS Interactive. Terms of the deal were not disclosed; Clicker raised a total of $19 million in funding. According to multiple sources, the deal was in the $50 million to $100 million range.

Clicker is a comprehensive search engine for TV content on the web. The startup made its debut at TechCrunch50 in 2009, and currently indexes more than one million full length TV episodes on the web.

The startup also released a more social version of Clicker that allows people to discover, share, rate, discuss, and check-in to shows on Clicker and third party partner sites, and rolled out Clicker Mobile, which allows users to access Clicker’s service through free Android and iPhone apps. Most recently, Clicker launched a deep Facebook integration to offer personalized TV recommendations.

Besides a technology play, the acquisition was also a talent buy. Before founding Clicker, Jim Lanzone was the CEO of Ask.com, which was acquired by IAC in 2005. Considering Lanzone’s experience in both web and content technologies, he seems like the perfect fit for CBS’s interactive arm. As President, Lanzone will succeed former CNET CEO Neil Ashe, who announced that he was leaving CBS in December 2010.

Clicker will become a property of CBS Interactive, whose other sites include CNET, TV.com, CBS.com, CBSSports.com, CBSNews.com and Gamespot.

CBS Interactive to Acquire Clicker.com
NEW YORK, March 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Jim Lanzone, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Clicker Media Inc., has been named President of CBS Interactive, it was announced today by Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. In this role, Lanzone will oversee all of CBS Interactive’s operations worldwide.

“Jim is a dynamic, creative executive who knows the interactive space and its key players,” said Moonves. “Throughout his career, he has proven to be both a leader and an innovator, and now he’ll bring both of those skills to help CBS Interactive build on its success. In these last couple of years, we’ve grown CBS into a top 10 global Internet property. I’m confident that with Jim at the helm, we will continue to expand our digital footprint, and capitalize on our scale in this fast-growing marketplace.”

At the same time, CBS Interactive has also entered into an agreement to acquire Clicker Media Inc. Upon closing, Clicker.com will join CBS Interactive’s roster of leading Internet properties, including CNET.com, TV.com, CBS.com, CBSSports.com, CBSNews.com and Gamespot.com. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“In just over a year, Jim has created one of the leading navigation and discovery tools for video programming on the Internet,” added Moonves. “Clicker’s products and proprietary technologies add firepower to our existing portfolio of entertainment properties, and if we can help grow Clicker to its full potential in the years ahead, the strategic value could be tremendous.”

“This is such an incredible opportunity,” said Lanzone. “Leslie and the CBS Interactive team have created an unrivaled arsenal of Internet properties – properties that have unlimited potential for expansion. I look forward to beginning my new role and working with the team to help lead CBS into the future of online information and entertainment.”

Lanzone succeeds Neil Ashe, who served as President of CBS Interactive since the Company acquired CNET Networks, Inc. in June 2008. Ashe announced in December 2010 that he’d be leaving the Company upon the naming of a successor.

“Neil oversaw one of the smoothest corporate integrations imaginable,” said Moonves. “All of us at CBS wish him the best, and thank him for all he’s done to position CBS for continued growth and success.”

Launched in November 2009, Clicker is the first comprehensive and structured guide to legal broadcast programming on the Web, indexing more than 1 million online TV shows, movies and videos, from free and paid services alike. Clicker’s proprietary recommendation engine, Clicker Predict, and its social integration with Facebook, bring its 2.5 million monthly users an instantly personalized guide to what’s worth watching online. Clicker was recently named one of the Top 100 Sites of 2010 by PC Magazine, “Top 10 Companies to Watch” in 2011 by Mashable and the #1 technology development in television for 2010 by the Writer’s Guild of America.

Prior to his work at Clicker, Lanzone was the former CEO of Ask.com (formerly Ask Jeeves), a top 10 global Web property acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI) in 2005. From 2001 to 2008, Lanzone held various executive roles at Ask ranging from SVP of Product Management, to General Manager of Ask Jeeves U.S., and finally CEO. He is considered to be one of the executives most responsible for turning around Ask Jeeves prior to its sale to IAC, and establishing Ask as an innovation leader. After leaving Ask, Lanzone joined Redpoint Ventures as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and raised $8 million to develop Clicker in October 2008. Jim was recently named one of Forbes Magazine’s “Names You Need to Know in 2011.” Lanzone holds a B.A. from UCLA and a J.D./M.B.A. from Emory University.