CNET Drops TV Show to Focus On Broadband


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CNET Networks, Inc. announced a significant change in its media strategy. The company, which provides content and commerce services for the technology industry, decided to emphasize broadband, video syndication, and radio initiatives.

As part of the new strategy, CNET ended its News.com television show, which had aired weekly on CNBC since 1999. According to Candice Meyers, CNET's senior vice president of broadcast and broadband, the company is reallocating television production resources so it can address emerging opportunities to reach its core technology audiences on their preferred media platforms.

"Overall, CNET Networks has seen a huge upsurge in the number of people who are coming to us on broadband connections," Meyers said. "We know, for example, that about 70% of the people who come to News.com online are coming with high-speed access. So if there ever was an audience that had an appetite for broadband, it's the audience for CNET Networks. They're tech-savvy. They're the early adopters. People should look to CNET to be a leader in the broadband arena because we have the audience that's ready for it."

CNET's broadband offerings already include interviews with technology leaders such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, which are available on the News.com site, and video product reviews, posted on www.cnet.com.

The company will continue to provide technology coverage for CNBC's business news and other clients. "Many mainstream television organizations have come to CNET because they don't have the resources to do [this] kind of reporting," Meyers said. "So they see us as a very valuable resource for reporting on technology. What we're pulling back from, in terms of an investment, is long-form television programming, but we're still very much available and open for business in terms of serving up television reports."

Part of the new strategy also includes initiatives by CNET Media Productions, a unit within the broadband department, to develop product demonstrations, tutorials, and other Webcasts for enterprise clients. Meyers noted that the company's early efforts in that market have been well received, and she feels "the appetite is even greater for that."'

"Even before the tragedy in New York, we all knew there had been a tremendous downturn in business travel simply because of the economy," she said, "so it made sense that there would be an uptake in the amount of communication that was going on via the Web, and CNET Networks felt it was a good time for us to ramp up what we were doing already, which was Webcasting for key corporate clients."'

She noted that during the next several months, CNET will continue to enhance its radio initiatives. The company was one of the first to stream radio on the Web in 1995 at www.radio.com, and today, CNET Radio AM 910 San Francisco/San Jose is the fastest-growing station in the Bay Area.

"Television, in terms of long-form programming during the day, is not necessarily the way to reach technology enthusiasts," Meyers said. "We think the most effective way is when they're at work or when they're going to work."