In a huge endorsement for interactive media and for buying over building, CBS is replacing President of Digital Media Larry Kramer with an executive who is more of a dealmaker. Investment banker Quincy Smith joins CBS as president of a newly created CBS Interactive division.
CBS' parting with Kramer (see
) is an acknowledgment by the company that it aims to move beyond building up its internal offerings and start acquiring more major digital assets, like News Corp.'s $580 million purchase of MySpace and NBC Universal's $600 million buy of iVillage.
Smith hails from Allen & Co., a New York investment bank prominent in media circles and best-known for its annual retreat for media top moguls and investors. In his years with the company, he has been involved with multiple Google deals, the del.icio.us sale to Yahoo!, Neopets' sale to Viacom, Advertising.com's sale to AOL and others. At Allen & Co., he also worked for Comcast, the Weinstein Company and CBS, as well as invested in SpotRunner, Sling Media and others.
At CBS, Smith will report to CBS President/CEO Leslie Moonves, overseeing CBS' digital strategy and partnerships for the Internet, mobile, gaming and other digital platforms. He will head up not just CBS' news, sports and entertainment Websites - CBSNews.com, CBSSportsLine.com and CBS.com - and its broadband site, Innertube, but will work with CBS' financial team to seek out smart acquisitions to build "the Company's presence in the fast-growing digital counterpart to its existing programming platforms," the network says.
Smith's hiring reflects CBS' "belief that the future of media lies increasingly in the interactive realm," said Moonves in a statement. "With Quincy on board, I look forward to having an ideal platform for today's technologies and services to take their ideas to CBS first."
Kramer, who became CBS' digital chief in March 2005, will stay on in an advisory capacity. Kramer first paired with CBS in 1997 when the broadcasting company partnered with the digital sports/stocks reporting company he founded to form CBS MarketWatch. He went on to oversee MarketWatch's sale to Dow Jones for $528 million in January 2005.
A journalist for more than 20 years earlier in his career, Kramer realigned CBS' internal digital entertainment and news teams to operate in tandem with the more established CBS SportsLine and oversaw the network's wildly successful free online streaming of last spring's NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Before Allen & Co., Smith was a founding partner in venture capital firm The Barksdale Group, spent five years at Netscape running Investor Relations and Corporate Development, and was an investment banker for Morgan Stanley.