CBS may drain cable IPG ad revenue with TV Guide Digital acquisition

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CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) said it now owns 100 percent of TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile, two assets it could use to grab a cut of revenue which cable operators generate by selling ads on interactive program guides.

In March, CBS struck a deal to buy a 50 percent stake of expanded basic cable channel TV Guide Network. The company said Monday that it will continue to operate TVGN through a joint venture with Lionsgate but that it acquired the studio's shares in TV Guide Digital, which includes TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile.

CBS's move comes as cable operators and satellite TV providers are relying more on mobile applications such as Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) X1 Remote and Time Warner Cable's (NYSE: TWC) TWC TV to let subscribers navigate programming using devices like Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and iPad. While cable and satellite TV subscribers can use mobile apps from their providers to control their set-tops, viewers can't yet use the TV Guide Mobile app for iOS and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android devices to change channels.

CBS said TV Guide Digital will be run by CBS Interactive's technology, games and lifestyle group, which includes CNET, social TV site TV.com and streaming music service Last.fm.

"TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile have the biggest and most-engaged audiences in the valuable TV information category, making them a perfect fit for our portfolio of premium content brands," CBS Interactive President Jim Lanzone said in Monday's announcement.

The deal could create more competition for Rovi (Nasdaq: ROVI), which, sold TV Guide to Lionsgate and One Equity Partners in 2010 after acquiring IPG developer Gemstar – TV Guide International.

For more:
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