November 6, 2006 1:02 PM PST
CBS goes 'Interactive' with hire of Valley veteran
The 35-year-old Smith made a name as a tech investor, specifically working on mergers and acquisitions like Delicious' sale to Yahoo and AOL's buy of Netscape. Prior to his hire at CBS, Smith worked at the firm Allen & Company.
With the addition of Smith, announced Monday morning, CBS has replaced its Digital Media division with the new CBS Interactive. Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, has in turn stepped down from his post but will remain a presence at CBS as an adviser. Smith will now oversee CBS' digital and interactive brands, which include CBS.com, CBSNews.com, CBS SportsLine.com and the Innertube broadband channel, which recently saw a popular Web-only show, Inturn, promoted to on-air status.
CBS, along with other traditional television networks, has recently been making major efforts to jump into new media like Web video and mobile content. Along with Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Entertainment, CBS signed a deal with YouTube last month.
According to Smith, the shift from CBS Digital Media to CBS Interactive is more than just a name change. "The notion of 'interactive' is a tacit observation that CBS corporate realizes that in these new platforms--online, mobile, video gaming, whatever else they might throw our way--it's going to be an incredibly interactive environment," Smith said. "That means specifically that it's all about audience."
With the new focus on interactivity, CBS will make it easier for audiences to "personalize, mess with, mix up, mash up, track back, (and) comment on" various forms of new media.
"No offense to 'digital media,'" Smith added, "but it just sounds like you're reprocessing and encoding David Letterman tapes to make them work on the Internet."