CNN's $20M Hedge On Zite Values Aggregation Biz Over Original News | Curation, Social Business and Beyond |

This is the first of many acquisitions by companies like CNN to continue to serve their audience by giving them what they're going to do anyway - choose their own programs. 




The next time you click an item on Zite, the personalized iPad magazine CNN acquired this week for a reported $20 million, odds are you won't be clicking on an article from CNN. Here's why:


For Zite pulls content from hundreds of thousands of sources, as CEO Mark Johnson tells Fast Company, which leaves little chance that you'll see links to CNN, unless Zite's algorithm learns your tastes and determines you have a penchant for Wolf Blitzer's blog (and/or beard).


Here's what caught my attention:


That's suprising, because, traditionally, news outlets have aggressively lusted after your attention. When a news story breaks, The New York Times wants you reading The New York Times--not the Wall Street Journal. Similarly, when you turn on the TV after work, CNN wants you tuning to CNN for your news--not MSNBC or Fox.


But with the acquisition of Zite, CNN's own product could soon (and most likely will) be telling you to read another source for your news, possibly even a competitor like

"No, not at all," Estenson says. "I look at this as only additive to CNN's core business. Millions and millions of people love CNN and turn to it in times of breaking news, global crisis, and for our original reporting.


At the same time, one of our missions in digital is to create products that people love. ite does is it plays more to your passions--more to your interests.

Those type of stories have less breaking news momentum. For us, it's about helping people discover a wider array of content and stories that they're interested in."