Questions of overlap taint dollars 1.6b CNET, Ziff-Davis deal

SAN FRANCISCO: In a move that has PR pros and media pundits alike puzzling over the logic, CNET has agreed to acquire Internet tech news and information publisher Ziff-Davis for dollars 1.6 billion.

SAN FRANCISCO: In a move that has PR pros and media pundits alike puzzling over the logic, CNET has agreed to acquire Internet tech news and information publisher Ziff-Davis for dollars 1.6 billion.

SAN FRANCISCO: In a move that has PR pros and media pundits alike

puzzling over the logic, CNET has agreed to acquire Internet tech news

and information publisher Ziff-Davis for dollars 1.6 billion.



Once a major conglomerate that included a stable of best-selling tech

trade mags, industry trade shows and Internet content operations,

Ziff-Davis has essentially been pared down in recent years to ZDNet, an

online tech news site that competes directly with CNET’s News.com. In

fact, the two rival sites run neck-and-neck in the Media Metrix ratings

of most-visited Web destinations.



However, CNET CEO Shelby Bonnie has been quoted as saying that the two

Internet news outlets had ’less overlap than one might think’ in terms

of audience and advertisers.



More important to hi-tech PR pros, of course, is whether the two

newsrooms will continue to duke it out for business scoops. The official

party line is that the two brands will remain separate entities with

their own editorial staffs, but it remains to be seen whether that idea

will stick as the overlapping coverage becomes more apparent.



Within the organizations themselves, little has changed so far.

According to CNET VP of corporate communications Blaise Simpson, it

won’t be until the fourth quarter that any PR or marketing consolidation

will begin.



’It’s still too early to tell what is going to happen. There are still a

few more deals that need to close before we start considering how this

will affect PR operations,’ said Simpson, referring to ZD’s previously

announced plans to spin off its events and conferences unit.



In the meantime, Simpson will continue her search for a PR firm to

handle the consumer side of the CNET business.



’What I am considering now is finding a great consumer agency and

perhaps later hiring a business and IT-oriented agency for News.com and

ZDNet,’ she said.



For now, ZDNet is handled by NY-based Plesser Associates, which also

works with tech business publication Red Herring. ’Our original

assignment of promoting ZDNet’s editorial hasn’t changed,’ said Andy

Plesser.



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