News24

CNN buys iPad news reader Zite

2011-08-30 21:28

Washington - US cable television network CNN announced on Tuesday that it has bought Zite, a Canadian company that makes a personalised news reader for the iPad.

CNN did not say how much it paid for the San Francisco- and Vancouver-based Zite, which was launched in March, but technology blog All Things Digital put the purchase price at $20m to $25m.

CNN said Zite will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Cable News Network and will operate as a separate, stand-alone business.

"Zite represents the next generation of content discovery and personalised publishing, and CNN wants to help lead in that space," CNN digital manager KC Estenson said.

"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," Estenson said in a press release.

Like other iPad news aggregators such as Flipboard, Pulse, Taptu and AOL's Editions, Zite uses algorithms to take a reader's interests and behaviour into account in serving up their pages.

Zite's technology can "help CNN's websites and apps serve more personalised content, making our current digital services even better", CNN said.

Zite chief executive Mark Johnson said the acquisition by CNN "gives us the capital to grow Zite's business and continue to innovate in the space."

CNN said Johnson will continue to run Zite's day-to-day operations while Zite founder Ali Davar will remain as executive director.

Shortly after its launch, Zite was accused of copyright infringement by The Washington Post, Dow Jones, Time and other news organisations and told to stop displaying their articles.

Instead of directing a reader to the websites of the news organisations, where they display online advertising, Zite had been showing some articles reformatted in a pop-up window without ads.

After receiving the "cease-and-desist" letter, Zite began linking directly to the websites of the complaining publications.