In an anticipated move, today CNN acquired iPad news reader Zite. "CNN," the network announced, "has added Zite to its already robust portfolio of digital products as a separate, stand-alone business that will continue to innovate and provide users with the news and information they want." For now the company claims that Zite will remain a separate entity, yet CNN here is joining other media organizations in clearly pursuing new ways to deliver content. The acquisition cost something in the 20 million dollar range. Was it worth it?
People do seem to want a more personalized Internet news experience. While RSS readers and Twitter allow you to streamline the information coming in, they are ugly and don't allow for that much customization. These iPad news readers, like AOL's editions, fix some of these issues and CNN wants in on that. And most importantly they want readers to see their content, explains Epicenter's Ryan Singel. "One could imagine then an app that uses Zite technology that features only CNN-owned and partnered technology, which would allow the app to dispaly content as it fits and with integrated advertising--with no worries about copyright infringement or negotiating with publishers." For now CNN claims that Zite will remain a separate entity, but access to the technology could prove useful for CNN, argues GigaOm's Darrell Etherington. CNN is smart to be pursuing it; the tech behind the app could help put its content in front of eyes that appreciate it with greater frequency and accuracy, which should in turn lead to more a more faithful audience.