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Tribune Acquires TV by the Numbers, Relaunches Zap2it Entertainment Site

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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