CBS Interactive, which is the parent company of CNET, and Asahi Newspaper announced the two companies had agreed that the ownership of CNET Networks Japan[J] would be completely handed over to Asahi Newspaper on September 1st.
CNET Networks Japan owns and runs several Japan-based tech websites including CNET Japan[J], ZDNet Japan[J], GameSpot Japan[J] and Tetsudo.com[J] (a website for trainspotters.)
Reportedly, Asahi will take on all 50 editorial and sales employees working with CNET Networks Japan.
IT news media Ascii says on the website[J], Asahi used to be relatively stronger on IT news compared to other Japanese news media. In 1990s, the company set up a bureau in Silicon Valley and dispatch IT news correspondents there to keep updating IT news category for all day. It launched a corporate website for the first time in Japanese news media history, and was publishing several popular PC news magazines.
However, unlike other publishers such as Nikkei BP and IT Media[J], Asahi has no in-depth IT story on the website. Unlike Mainichi.jp, Asahi has no ability to attract website visitors. Just as New York Times(NYT) enforced its web business by takng over About.com, Asahi may have good ad sales revenue, especially from IT industry, by taking CNET Japan.
But there used to be rumors that many editorial staffs have quit CNET after Lehman Brothers’ shockwave hit the world market.
Ascii ended the story with an interesting comment quoted from Asahi’s market survey report.
NYT paid as much as USD45M for taking over About.com, but it boosted NYT’s web business sales for as little as 2%. It tells us how difficult web business is, and we need to keep our eyes on NYT’s further steps to improve revenue.
How about the case of Asahi and CNET Japan?