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Eye wires digital chief

Smith to head online endeavor

NEW YORK — Moving aggressively to enhance its digital profile, CBS Corp. has named Allen & Co. banker, venture capitalist and former Netscape exec Quincy Smith to head new division CBS Interactive, overseeing the company’s entire interactive strategy.

Smith will report to CBS chief exec Leslie Moonves.

CBS also announced that MarketWatch founder Larry Kramer has stepped down as prexy of CBS Digital Media, but will remain an adviser to the company.

The Eye said Smith will oversee its Web sites and digital assets, including CBS SportsLine.com, CBSNews.com, CBS.com and Innertube. He’ll work closely with all CBS divisions on new-media strategy, partnerships and deals in the Internet, mobile and videogaming space.

New appointment “reflects our belief that the future of media lies increasingly in the interactive realm,” Moonves said in a statement. “It’s important for us to have a unified strategy and seamless communication.”

Smith told Daily Variety he’s convinced that online doesn’t cannibalize traditional media.

“Good content is additive,” he said, “and it will impact the bottom line.” He sees the process as one of experimentation and “getting to know our audience” as well as the entrepreneurs who are developing the next hot application — “the seven guys in the garage with nose rings.”

During his three years at investment bank Allen & Co., Smith was involved in numerous transactions for Google and deals including Advertising.com’s sale to AOL, the del.icio.us sale to Yahoo, Neopets’ sale to Viacom, Loudeye’s sale to Nokia and CNET’s acquisition of Webshots. He worked with CBS, Comcast and the Weinstein Co. as well as Allen & Co.’s own investments in SpotRunner, Fon, Ning and Sling Media.

Smith was a founding partner of venture capital firm the Barksdale Group; before that spent five years at Netscape, where he ran investor relations and corporate development. Before that, he was an investment banker for Morgan Stanley.

Kramer, who was named prexy of CBS digital media in 2005, founded MarketWatch.com (formerly CBS MarketWatch), a successful venture in which CBS invested and to which it lent its name. It was sold to Dow Jones & Co. last year for half a billion dollars.

“I want to thank Larry for his contributions here, which were significant,” Moonves said. “I have no doubt that he will continue to be at the forefront of the new-media revolution.”

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