Tribune Acquires TV by the Numbers, Relaunches Zap2it Entertainment Site

zap2it logo

Tribune Digital Ventures has bought TV by the Numbers, a blog analyzing TV ratings, news, and show cancellations and renewals, and plans to expand its coverage for a broader audience as part of its newly redesigned Zap2it entertainment website.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. TV by the Numbers, which has fewer than 10 employees, has had an exclusive partnership since 2010 with Tribune’s Zap2it. Now that Tribune owns TVBTN, it plans to increase the blog’s scope and license the content to third-party apps and services, Tribune Digital Ventures president Shashi Seth said.

“Our goal is to make TV by the Numbers a must-have analytics and data resource for passionate viewers and Hollywood insiders alike,” Seth said. “It moves us into a new realm and helps us broaden our horizons. We believe entertainment content is an interesting space, given our assets, and we should be able to do something big in this space.”

News comes a week after NBCUniversal said it will shut down snarky TV website Television Without Pity (as well as DailyCandy) effective Friday, April 4.

TV by the Numbers was founded in 2007 by Bill Gorman and Robert Seidman, who owned the site and will join Tribune along with the rest of their staff. One of TVBTN’s most popular features is the “Renew/Cancel Index,” which predicts the likelihood of primetime shows’ survival, along with recent Nielsen TV ratings data. TVBTN represents about 2 million unique users per month out of Zap2it’s 7.7 million monthly uniques.

Seth added that TDV is considering the possibility of creating a show based on the TV by the Numbers brand. “We haven’t made up our minds on next steps but owning this property and reimagining it will build out our aspirations for entertainment-related sites and products,” he said.

Meanwhile, with Zap2it’s redesign, the site is increasing focus on helping TV fans discover programs to watch across linear TV and streaming services — like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video — and providing integrated advertising opportunities designed to reach that audience. The website “had become a little stale,” Seth said, adding that TDV also plans to redesign TV By the Numbers to match Zap2it’s new look.

Tribune Co. launched Tribune Digital Ventures in 2013 as a standalone unit. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based division operates Tribune Media Services (TMS), a provider of TV and movie metadata, and music metadata provider Gracenote.

TDV also is charged with developing and launching new businesses. Last month, it launched Newsbeat, a news-aggregation app that converts articles into audio, using synthetic text-to-speech voices or in some cases human voiceovers.

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  1. DUNSEL says:

    They should have just closed it. It’s utterly useless now. Purely unusable. I’ve already moved to an alternative.

  2. Dave says:

    *isn’t* corrected!

  3. Dave says:

    I have to agree with other comments: the widely spaced pictures and ads make this MUCH less useful. Having to scroll down several pages to see the listings for one evening is a waste of time. I’ll be looking for another site to get TV broadcast information soon, if this is corrected!

  4. adsfornothing says:

    Horrid. The ads are insane. can’t even read anything for ads playing every 5 seconds. Yes my pop up blocker is on!!! I stopped going to the site. Boggs down my internet connection and tons, I mean tons of spyware.

  5. Tom says:

    But when will the TV listings by region be back?

  6. Thanks for finally talking about >Tribune Acquires TV by the Numbers, Relaunches
    Zap2it Entertainment Site | Variety <Liked it!

  7. Tom Richards says:


    OK – Just went to your site and there have been improvements, but you still have a way to go to be as good as Zap2it used to be.

    Yes – I now have my channels back
    Yes (Maybe) – I did not have to login today, I remained logged in from yesterday. Having to log in every time is a pain.
    No – I cannot Set my Preferences.
    No – I cannot Select and Highlight my Favourite Programs.
    No – I cannot set the times to my Time Zone ( Pacific Daylight Savings Time ).
    No – I cannot change to the more convenient 6 Hour Grid.
    And – I prefer a BLACK TEXT over your GREY TEXT – much easier to read.

  8. thomas alexander says:

    Thanx to all that recommended Yahoo Zap2it!!!! Been searching for channel guide since beginning of April. Really like Zap’s set up and excited to have it back. Had been using former site for very long time – couldn’t login. Shame, shame for not asking people that use it if they would like a change. Disappointed with sites/companies, etc. that do that sort of thing. Thanx again guys!!!

  9. Tom Currie says:

    Thanks oldyellr, but that’s not news – the fact that Yahoo still shows the original Zap2It schedule has been discussed here for about a week.

  10. Bob says:

    I used to get zap2it customized to the channels I wanted to see. I do NOT want to go through 1000 channels trying to find info on programs I am interested in. Have dramatically stopped using this since the new format.

  11. I used to get tv listing customized to my service provider. Even though I’m recognised at sign in clicking on tv listings just gives ads for what’s on tonight.

  12. Wolfgand Reiner says:

    I’m unable to view Zap2It channel listings on Internet Explorer. What happened? It used to work before the re-design.

  13. Sid says:

    It went from a site where I could quickly check which of my favorite shows are playing to a site where I have to log in manually and where I can’t see my favorites anymore. A perfect example of how to ruin a good site !! What a waste !!

  14. chris dent says:

    Jo L is being rather polite!! A 100% PERFECT SITE IS NOW 200% PIECE OF CRAP. CANT FIND ANYTHING. WAY TOO MUCH JUNK. and this is VERY restrained. “stale” BS nothing wrong with so called stale when it works.

  15. Jo Leigh says:

    Wow, what a way to destroy brand loyalty. Not only will I not be returning to Zap2it, but I’m made note of it’s new owners and will avoid paying for anything they sponsor or promote.

  16. Ed Joy says:

    YY You have totally wrecked a great site for TV schedules. Is this a joke? Give us back our listings

  17. oldyellr says:

    As others have said, the new site really sucks. The most annoying feature is you have to log in manually each time to see your TV guide.

  18. Laurie says:

    The new version of Zap2It sucks! Can’t hold location, a login is required every time it’s used, can’t sort the stations as I like, only a 3 hour grid, blah, blah! It’s rolled out before it’s ready — meaning they can jam it down our throats like the government does and we’re expected to take it. It looks like a site for morons with pretty pictures and big print! The idiots that thought this was a good idea are clueless! Put the old site back up and go sit in the corner where any dunce belongs! You are so fired!

    • Keith Rowland says:

      Couldn’t agree more with Laurie. Has gone from a site I checked a few times a day to one I have now given up on after a week plus of frustration. Would welcome the return of the old site and its features.

  19. Trish says:

    I switched to – it still says zap2it all over. I haven’t been able to add “my favorites” to my list for over 6 months – I click “add to my faves” and nothing. Also – no support link found – except – which I tried. Anyone else not able to “ADD TO MY FAVES?”

  20. Tom Currie says:

    Actually you CAN see your old Zap2It TV Listings page — if you have a Yahoo account — just go to Yahoo TV, TV Listings, and surprise surprise Yahoo’s TV listings are powered by Zap2It and it will go right to showing you your chosen provider and your favorite channels just like before Tribune screwed it up. (Don’t know how long this is going to last, but it works for now)

  21. George B. says:

    Looks like TMS is feeling the heat over their evisceration of Zap2It. They are hyping a new page but it really shows how much damage they have done.

    No longer can you see just the channels you want, as you can now. There’s still no way to get a readable grid again.

    Further, you can not do ANY changes until after you log in…and even if you wanted to, you can not register for a new account. It appears the whole exercise is to force users to register and log in — hello spam mail and tracking.

  22. Ann Gale says:

    I used to really like Zap2it, but I can no longer log on. What a disappointment. It used to be a useful service.

  23. Tom Currie says:

    This article should have been published two days earlier — as an April Fools Joke. That way it would have fit together with the “new” Zap2It TV listings website – a site which totally does not work.

    When they first launched the new format site, the new format was not as user friendly as the old listing format, but it would have been usable except for one small problem. The only listing available was a generic “networks” listing based on the site guessing your time zone from your IP address. You couldn’t select your TV provider and you couldn’t log in because the “login” button did nothing at all. In fact the only thing on the site that appeared to work properly was the “feedback” link at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately that just got you an automated email reply saying they knew the site was all screwed up and they were working on it.

    Apparently they really ARE working on it, because each day the site has gotten WORSE.

    By day two, all the original problems were still there plus the display format had become totally unusable (at least in Microsoft Internet Explorer).

    As of today, the format is still unusable and now the site apparently no longer even tries to guess what time it is because most of the network listings are shown as “signing off” which indicates the site must think it is around 3AM (the actual time here is roughly 3 PM).

    Oddly enough, if you go to the Zap2It blog page, THERE the “login” button does work. If you log in then go to the TV listings page, the header shows that you are logged in, but it still does not display YOUR listings.

  24. Tom Richards says:

    May I suggest that former Zap2it users send an email to expressing their displeasure, as I have done. And request a personal reply. Way too orten, forums such as this one, are ignored.


  25. ChrystinP says:

    1) I am really sick of TeaParty type folks using everything and anything for their anti-government rhetoric and to bash Mr. Obama. Those things have nothing to do with this private company and their idiocy.

    2) Yes, definitely thanks to everyone who posted the hidden Yahoo option! It is great.

    3) Also, thanks to those posting the availability of Titan TV. When I did a search looking for options the only thing that came up with Zap2it, the regular TV Guide, and a few newspaper type guides.

    4) Thanks to those posting Titan’s availabilty. I’m using Titan, in addition to Zap2It and may find I like Titan a lot more. Like the person who lives in two regions, I travel quite a bit to the same places, and this is great. I’m still mastering some of the fine tuning, but like it a great deal, so far.

    • haraway says:

      Titan TV, though a possible alternative if Z2i doesn’t do a workable turnaround, doesn’t work for Canadian viewers, which Zap2it did.

  26. Rick says:

    Thanks to those who suggested yahoo TV listings which have the old Zap2it format and little of the official website clutter.

    I also suggest checking out TitanTV which is a more configurable but also allows you create custom channel lists from more than one are. I live near both Boston and Providence, get channels(via antenna) from both and have created a custom list combining the two.

  27. Bill Bergey says:

    Shashi Seth the “Mastermind” of this fiasco has made the Obamacare website look fantastic in comparison.

  28. Bill Bergey says:

    I wonder how long it will be before they find out about this and take it down since they are clearly trying to screw all of their users, just like our government.

  29. This is only the very recent of many covert, highly organized and widespread efforts I’ve encountered that truly threaten the future of free digital broadcast television.

    I’ve now added “the shutting down of simple and intuitive online local broadcast TV schedules” to my growing list:

    How Free Digital Broadcast Television Is Being Intentionally Destroyed:
    – The shutting down of simple and intuitive online local broadcast TV schedules.
    – The early burnout failure of many digital-to-analog broadcast converters.
    – The poor performance of tabletop “digital antennas”.
    – The falsified decline of free digital broadcast stations posted in the local newspapers.
    – The unannounced relocation of existing TV station transmitters.

    Out of frustration, and an almost hopeless effort to save free digital television broadcasting, I set up a how-to webspace to answer many questions, as well as clear up many misconceptions:

    I’ve also posted the link to Yahoo’s original zap2it version (also posted by others in these comments) that all of us prefer to use.

    Good luck. And please write your congressman about this.

    • lyrinda says:

      Thanks for the great info, California Fred! I am a committed rabbit ears user and refuse to pay for TV. When cable TV first came out I thought “Great! Finally we can have TV without commercials!” Ha! All you seem to get with cable TV is more commercials – and TV stations that are ONLY commercials! So I am fortunate that I live where I can get the major networks via my rabbit ears, even though I live in a small canyon in the Berkeley Hills. We almost exclusively watch PBS. Because NBC moved to San Jose I could not receive their signal for years, so in order to see the Olympics I went out and purchased the best signal amplifying rabbit ears I could get and they work fine! I refuse to succumb to the Comcast monopoloy.

  30. Bob Crane says:

    So thats what happened to destroy zap to it this week

  31. CHERYL MOHER says:


  32. CHERYL MOHER says:


  33. gary says:

    i lost all my favorite channels

  34. ChrystinP says:

    I am so happy that I went on a search today to figure out what the heck had happened to Zap2It and how to get it back. I’ve launched the former version and deleted the trash (new) version. I don’t get why so many companies are following the MicroSoft model of fixing things that work beautifully and making them non-functional. You’d think all the “Make 7 or 8 work like XP” would tell programmers something.

    However, it’s not enough to post comments here. People need to e-mail the company where they’re avidly awaiting feedback for how fabulous they are now, and they need to hear this new version is the pits.

    • Lolinca says:

      I have emailed bit only get a stock answer, therefore, it indicates to me they don’t care to obtain feedback as obviously know that this new site is a catastrophic failure. Hopefully, they will work out the kinks which is why auto answer.

      • ChrystinP says:

        Hello, I disagree that a stock answer only indicates they don’t care to obtain feedback. A stock answer is the universal response to most e-mail from sites with large numbers of users. Even if they’re only doing a tally of total comments, positive comments, and negative comments, if you aren’t letting them know your displeasure then all they’re going to have is check marks in the positive column.

  35. mike ludlum (duh) says:

    IT WAS’NT BROKEN,,,, NO COMPUTER NERDS NEEDED TO FIX IT…. THIS NEW ONE SUCKS. no place for your zip, no sellection of cable or if you only have local antanna, no place to sellect your favorates,,,, SO MAD I CANT EVEN SPELL
    mike L mad as hell

    • mike ludlum (duh) says:

      read all the other comments,,,, glad you all agree with me,
      why do these idiots do this, yahoo did it, (its under some control) then firefox, then and then you all know.
      when it is not broken,,,why do they try to improve and fix something that dos not have to be improved or fixed.
      MikeL still mad as hell

  36. Paul C. says:

    As others have commented, the change to Zap2it has made the tv listings basically unusable. The Yahoo link to Zap2it seems to be the solution for now, until someone at Zap2it discovers it and shuts it down. I think it was a previous change to tv listings at Yahoo that drove me to Zap2it in the first place. So, perhaps I am back where I started.

  37. Duncan says:

    They must have hired someone from Microsoft to take something that works just fine, and ruin it altogether with an “improved” version.

  38. Ed Lisowski says:

    The tribune has taken a perfectly good site (Zap2It) that worked well for my needs for several years and turned it into crap. Nothing lines up correctly and the pop-ups keep flashing and covering themselves up. I live in Washington state and all it gives me is eastern US lineups. It will not let me change location.

  39. Jane Francis says:

    PLEASE bring back the old format for Zap2It. !! I could get it to put my favorite stations at the top and it showed me 6 hours at a time. That meant one quick look and I had it all my info from diner to bed. :) Now I have to go to the time line twice, and through all the stations I don’t care about. I will have to go looking for another site OR use the newspaper which doesn’t have all the stations I want listed. PLEASE BRING THE OLD FORMAT BACK!!!!!!

  40. Bill says:

    Many thanks to Sam for posting the link to the Yahoo site. Awhile back there were some issues with Zap2it and I was forced to go hunting on the internet for an alternate TV Listing service. There are not too many out there but at that time I was able to find Titan TV Guide listings. (If you google “Titan TV Listings” you can go right to their site). I used Titan for about a year or so, but was having ‘printing issues’ with their site. I then discovered that Zap2it was functional again and went back to Zap2it. Now that Zap2it has been bought out, and unless it is changed back to the origina format, it is worthless! If the Yahoo link to Zap2it is changed – or obliterated – I guess that will leave no choice but to go back to the Titan.TV listings

  41. Rob Stewart says:

    How to loss million in dollars and internet viewers.
    I’m from Canada and luckly found:
    (downside the favorite channels is cookie passed).
    Yahoo at least looks like the old Zap2it site. But I like layout.
    I’m gone for good and deleted favitores and bookmarks for Zap2(sh)it.

    • haraway says:

      @Rob Stewart – The new and horrible Zap2it, when I login, still appears to be accepting Canadian postal codes. I wish Titan TV did because it looks like a good alternative. seems alright, but I’d need more time to see how it goes. There’s no way to rank order my fave channels on it, like we used to be abel to do on the old, very workable, Z2i. And it only goes 11 days into the future.

      Agree that the more feedback emails Shashi Seth gets about our displeasure the better. Be clear about what you want instead of just shouting and yelling.

  42. Sam says:

    I am so thankful I decided to read the Comments in this article…..I HATE the new ZAP2it site. Not only can I no longer log in or even sign back up as a new member (losing all my settings and FAVES I have accumulated) but the layout and setup are not user friendly and not at all “better” than the old ZAP.

    I was getting ready to just find a new site and forget ZAP all together, when I read about the YAHOO site that is the old ZAP format…..I was thrilled!
    Thank you for posting the information and I am including the link below for anyone who is not happy with the new ZAP.

    • Bill Bergey says:

      I wonder how long it will be before they find out about this and take it down since they are clearly trying to screw all of their users, just like our government.

    • Jim says:

      Sam, Thank you SO much for re-posting the link and for writing your comments. I agree with your comments 110% and now I don’t have to type them out myself!! lol

    • Lolinca says:

      Thank you for the Yahoo! Tv link as this new zap2it tv listings is not at all as user friendly as the former. Bookmarked the yahoo link and deleting the new zap2it link. Bad job Tribune on the redo.

  43. I hate the new format… I now prefer the TV Guide format although I liked the old “zap2it” format better. What is wrong with you people? Don’t you understand that the users are the most important element of the TV Guide experience? It’s virtually unusable.

  44. JBENZ says:

    Thanks to those who posted the Yahoo link. I spent hours today trying to get usable TV listings. Zap2It was destroyed and they have even butchered TV Guide and made it useless. Given that I’m stuck with CableVision where the listings are even more useless, that was a great help.

    Only problem is that Yahoo is well known for taking over useful and popular sites to turn into advertising cash cows and then destroying them when they fail. Hope that won’t happen this time.

  45. Noel says:

    use yahoo tv listings. It’s the old zap2it format

  46. Agree with previous comments. Zap2it browser version now worthless. Hope they don’t destroy the iPad app the same way. Hands off, Tribune Co.!

  47. Bill Harvey says:

    Yeah, they screwed it up. Now you have to jump through hoops every time you use it. Thanks for nothing, Zap2it.

  48. Rick EVans says:

    Like everything it touches the Tribune company has turned gold into crap.

    Funny thing the ugly green color reminds me of the orangutan vomit I witnessed at the National Zoo in DC.

  49. oahuman says:

    Aloha, This is great that the Tribune is now the owner. Zap2it has a great following. They’re tvlistings and ratings information was superb. It was quite a shock to see the new format. It would be nice to be able to customize the tvlistings and channels as we could before. Thanks in advance. Dale

    • Rick EVans says:

      Like everything it touches the Tribune company has turned gold into crap.

      Funny thing the ugly green color reminds me of the orangutan vomit I witnessed at the National Zoo in DC.

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