CNN builds up digital portfolio with Zite purchase

CNN is boosting its digital media and publishing portfolio with the acquisition of Zite and its iPad platform.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

CNN is steadily building up its digital media portfolio with the purchase of Zite, an iPad app that serves as a personalized magazine for news, articles, blogs, videos and other content from both niche and mainstream publications.

Digital publishing -- especially for the iPad -- is becoming a bigger business by the day as more and more people are consuming their news via mobile gadgets.

KC Estenson, general manager of CNN Digital, explained in a statement that CNN wants to become a leader in the personalized publishing and content space:

We think we can advance the industry in a meaningful way that helps content creators expand their businesses while growing the distribution of a product that people already love. The Zite technology can also help CNN's Websites and apps serve more personalized content, making our current digital services even better.

However, CNN won't be making too many changes -- if any -- to Zite's platform or employee base.

Although Zite will be a wholly owned subsidiary of CNN, it will still be a separate, standalone business based in San Francisco. Zite's CEO Mark Johnson will stay on and continue to run Zite’s day-to-day operations out of the company's current headquarters in San Francisco, and founder Ali Davar will serve as Executive Director.

Johnson noted in a post on his company's official blog that Zite "will not promote CNN, Turner or Time Warner content in any special way," but that this merger will help better as it now has "the capital to grow."

Interested users can still download Zite for the iPad, which is available for free in the iTunes App Store.

Neither CNN nor Zite revealed official financial terms of the deal, but AllThingsD's Kara Swisher reports that the purchase was worth between $20 million and $25 million.


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