Thursday, October 18, 2007

CBS + Gossip = ????

Gossip Web sites and blogs have become must-have acquisitions for mainstream media companies. AOL is the proud owner of and Yahoo! acquired celebrity news site Now according to the article “Gossip Websites – Talk Is Cheap, But Celebrity Gossip Can Be Priceless” published in The Independent, some have accused CBS of jumping on the bandwagon.

CBS, one of America’s biggest radio and television networks paid a reported $10 million last week for little-known celebrity gossip blog, which bills itself as “The Pulse of Pop Culture” and offers readers a mix of gossip, news, pictures and videos.

Why the purchase of a gossip site that has only 350,000 visitors a month? Alex Burmaster, Internet Analyst for Nielsen/NetRatings offers an idea:

I suppose CBS are banking on DotSpotter becoming much bigger and are getting in now before prices get ridiculous, something that often happens when the ‘next big thing’ is touted around online.

One must be careful because gossip sites publish material that is much more risqué then traditional printed news and the bigger the site the more likely it is to come under legal scrutiny. Take Perez Hilton’s recent legal issues with Britney Spears’ record company.

With such big risk involved one might ask why traditional news medias are taking it. Simple. Gossip sites attract the illusive demographic, which is gold to advertisers, the 25 to 34 year-olds. While it is a smart move from an economic stand point it has to make you stop and wonder. Why are hard news medias associating themselves with celebrity gossip sites that have virtually no credibility. Sure it allows you to reach a younger generation in advertising dollars but that’s about it. The news organizations are reaching them on a news level and, if anything, they are discrediting themselves by putting their name on such Web sites.

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