Kramer out at CBS Digital
Is CBS gearing up for a shopping spree? That's what media pundits are wondering now that Larry Kramer, the founder of MarketWatch and, until now, the chief of all things digital at CBS, is out of a job. He's more or less being replaced by 35-year-old Quincy Smith, a veteran tech media dealmaker who will be boss of a the newly-created CBS Interactive, reporting directly to CBS Corp. boss Leslie Moonves.
By all accounts, the changing of the guard is a friendly one. "I knew there were a set number of things that I wanted to accomplish, that there would be stages after that," Kramer told The Hollywood Reporter. "I wasn't sure if I wanted to be involved or not (in those future stages)."
The substitution of Smith, most recently at Allen & Co., for company-builder Kramer suggests that CBS sees its future growth in mergers and acquisitions rather than the messy business of from-scratch product development. (More than one observer notes that the switch comes just a few months after Tom Freston was relieved of his duties at Viacom in favor of private equity honcho Phillipe Dauman.) On that point, Mr. Smith is sending some mixed signals. He tells Reuters: "I'm actually pretty excited about the opportunity of continuing on the great platform, or collection of sites, we've aggregated already - To be more of a build place (as in build-it-ourselves rather than buy)." Yet he also tells Marketwatch's Bambi Francisco that "he plans to be 'much more proactive making acquisitions across the board.'" And apparently the marching orders from Moonves are to "find the next YouTube."
We're going with Bambi's take on this one: Organic growth is tough for old media companies. Look for the Allen & Co. influence to assert itself....
If they want just content, then there are a lot of sites out there they can look at. The real question is finding the next "youtube" that can merge with their current "road map". There is a site out there http://www.flapdaddy.com that is new, but has the idea of how to actually become a broadcasting company. For a fit, they may very well have the real idea that is needed.
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