CBS Wagon Train heads for Silicon Valley

18 April 2008

NEW YORK: 'If you can't beat them, join them' is the mantra chanted by the doughty pioneers of trad media company CBS as they point their covered wagons in a westerly direction for Menlo Park, California.

On the other side of the Great Divide is the promised land of  Silicon Valley, California where, unlike their nineteenth century predecessors, they are unlikely to be confronted by hostile natives.

Not least because the settlers come bearing gifts of mucho dollars for any tribal village whose cyber-crafts take their fancy.

CBS, conscious that its future lies in straddling media ancient and modern, hopes to colonize a sizable segment of Silicon Valley via takeovers and direct recruitment of native digital über-geeks.

The Menlo Park facility will house engineers and product managers building the internet video players, social networking applications and other features that CBS hopes will attract a new generation of viewers to its websites.

The trek west is part of a broader restructuring of CBS Interactive, which aims to acquire top technology talent in a bid to compete in the rapidly shifting communications landscape.

Says CBS ceo Leslie Mooves: "We have deals with Facebook, Google and everyone else you can think of. Being in the centre of things became essential."

Leading the wagon train is top CBS finance executive Bryon Rubin.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff