CBS gets Clicker and a new digital chief


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CBS Corp. on Friday morning announced it had hired Jim Lanzone to become president of CBS Interactive, putting him in charge of shaping the broadcasting giant’s strategy in the fast-changing digital world.

Simultaneously, CBS said it had entered into an agreement to acquire Lanzone’s company, Clicker Media Inc., which launched in November 2009 and has been billed as the ‘TV Guide’ of the Internet. Cable television and technology companies, including such giants as Google, believe there are huge opportunities in providing better search functions to help marry the television and the computer.


Unlike some other search engines, Clicker provides a structured guide to legitimate (as opposed to pirated) broadcast programming that is available on the Web by indexing hundreds of thousands of TV shows, movies and videos that are available online. It has the ability to exclude pirated copies of TV shows from its search results, making it more friendly to big-content companies, including CBS. Clicker also has a recommendation engine, Clicker Predict, which provides viewing suggestions.

‘In just over a year, Jim has created one of the leading navigation and discovery tools for video programming on the Internet,’ said CBS Chief Executive Leslie 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.’

CBS did not disclose terms of the deal.

Before helping launch Clicker, Lanzone was the former chief executive of (previously called Ask Jeeves), a property acquired by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCopr in 2005. In 2008, Lanzone joined Redpoint Ventures and raised $8 million in capital to develop Clicker.

Lanzone succeeds Neil Ashe, who announced in December that he would be stepping down.

-- Meg James