Tribune Media Services (TMS) has launched an online version of its Zap2it program guide (www.zap2it.com) that it says will offer viewers a chance to find out what's happening on-screen-whether on television, in movie theaters or online.
"There are more choices for consumers than ever before, from more cable channels to more ways to get television," says Jeff Rowe, Zap2it.com general manager for TMS' entertainment division. "And we wanted to create one place where we would converge their entertainment options, so Zap2it focuses on that converging content."
TMS' latest Web venture serves as a consolidator of sorts, linking UltimateTV.com, TVQuest.com and MovieQuest.com with information on a broad range of online events under the Zap2it banner. Looking at the business opportunity, Rowe says TMS is the first to market combining TV, movies and Internet events in one place.
He considers the Internet listings an important part of the site, especially because the Internet continues to make gains as an entertainment medium. "The Internet is becoming another forum for people to spend time at home, and we want to provide information on who is chatting, live concerts or other things that any online service is doing, if it's relevant to the entertainment space."
Rowe notes three revenue-generating aspects to the site: advertising and sponsorships, syndication of movie and TV listings, and making the site an agent for e-commerce. The company will announce a relationship with a major entertainment retailer to help bring punch to the e-commerce side, he says. "It will be similar to what cNet has done for consumers of technology, but it will be help for consumers of entertainment."
Key to whether those three revenue generators take off is whether the site offers an advantage over its competitors, and Rowe believes it does. "This is not a service that was hatched five or 10 years ago and is trying to morph into what the marketplace has become."