Lanzone, who also served as chief digital officer of CBS Corp., is the architect of the CBS All Access streaming service. He joined CBS in 2011 after serving as CEO of Clicker Media (which CBS acquired) and Ask.com. Lanzone brought DeBevoise into the company in 2011. DeBevoise had most recently been president and chief operating officer of CBS Interactive.
“Jim has led CBS Interactive through a tremendous growth period, both as an operator and as someone who had the foresight to place CBS on the cutting edge of the digital media landscape. CBS All Access and our other streaming services have proven to be game-changing opportunities for the company,” said Joe Ianniello, CBS’ president and acting CEO. “Jim and Marc’s partnership has been instrumental in our digital transformation, and I’m pleased we will have a natural transition with Marc leading CBS Interactive going forward.”
Lanzone spurred the initiative to launch CBS into the subscription arena with the launch of CBS All Access in October 2014, years before most of its traditional competitors embraced direct-to-consumer properties. The transition at CBS Interactive comes as CBS is preparing to merge with Viacom. Lanzone said he first discussed the CEO handoff with CBS brass and DeBevoise earlier this year, around the time of the Super Bowl.
Lanzone and DeBevoise emphasized that the change should be seamless because the two have worked shoulder to shoulder to build the division. The digital brands under the CBS Interactive — which include CNET, Gamespot and Chowhound — have grown to make CBS Corp. the seventh-largest Internet company by traffic, just behind Comcast at No. 6 and ahead of Disney at No. 8.
“We really built a growth engine here in terms of a product and we built the teams,” Lanzone said. CBS All Access “was an early and not obvious play in the market at the time we launched it but it was proven out to be the right idea.”
Benchmark Capital was a natural landing spot for Lanzone as he figures out his next move. The company was previously an investor in Clicker Media.
For DeBevoise, the near-term focus is to keep augmenting CBS’ suite of streaming channels such as the 24/7 local news channels that are rolling out in CBS O&O markets and the advertising-supported niche services such as CBS Sports HQ and ET Live.
“We feel like there’s plenty of things right now that are cooking with gas,” DeBevoise said.
(Pictured: Marc DeBevoise and Jim Lanzone)