CBS acquires Dotspotter

Network pays $10 million for celeb gossip site

CBS is dipping a toe in the celeb gossip waters, spending close to $10 million to acquire Dotspotter.com.

The 10-month-old startup combines celebrity gossip with community functions that allow users to chat, vote on video, and share recent sightings of Britney Spears, Brad Pitt and the like.

“Try your skills at breaking celebrity gossip (you know, bring out your inner paparazzi!),” the site crows.

But CBS Digital chief Quincy Smith says the deal isn’t really about the content, but the technology, and attached engineers who can build a community around CBS content.

“The reason to acquire the guys at Dotspotter is they know how to build watercooler communities,” Smith said. “Media has never been able to build a community around their content, but the watercooler is a better business model.”

The site’s content will be integrated with CBS’ ETonline.com and Showbuzz, but Smith stressed the deal is about technology and expertise that can be adapted to other content within CBS.

It’s the latest startup acquisition for CBS Digital, which has purchased outright sites like Wallstrip.com, Last.fm and Maxpreps, and has taken equity positions in Joost and Spotrunner over the past year.

Big media is increasingly enamored with the celebrity gossip space. TMZ.com is a joint venture between AOL and Warner Bros’ Telepictures, both owned by Time Warner.