Over the last few months, CBS's interactive unit has been entangled by a few executive shakeups. President Neil Ashe announced he was leaving in December, and today, entertainment division head Anthony Soohoo said he's heading out as well.
Mr. Soohoo joined CBS in 2007 when it bought his startup, Dotspotter, for $10 million and brought him on board as senior VP-entertainment. Mr. Soohoo had been working on a number of initiatives at CBS, including its TV.com business, which offers full access to some of the network's TV programming, much like Hulu. But after the company bought Clicker last week and installed its CEO, Jim Lanzone, as Mr. Ashe's replacement, Mr. Soohoo decided it was time to announce his departure.
Mr. Soohoo talked briefly to Ad Age about his move.
Ad Age: When did you plan on leaving CBS Interactive?
Mr. Soohoo: I made my decision about eight or nine months ago. At that time, I wanted to finish off a year, but when the news about Neal came out it made sense for me to stick around until his replacement was found.
Ad Age: Eight or nine months ago is quite a lead time before leaving.
Mr. Soohoo: I had to help the company through fall premieres. The thought was I could take the company through the fall, but then in the middle of Q4, Neal's news came out, and it made it necessary to stay.
Ad Age: Didn't the acquisition of Clicker overlap a bit with TV.com, which you were running?
Mr. Soohoo: My world's much bigger than TV.com. I ran the whole entertainment division at CBS Interactive. It had nothing to do with Clicker.com.
Ad Age: What are you planning on doing now?
Mr. Soohoo: My passion is to go back into the startup world. I'm going to take a little time off first, and then I'll be looking to start something again, from scratch. Something in the infrastructure space, but also connected to media.
Ad Age: Will it have to do with television and interactive entertainment?
Mr. Soohoo: Too early to say. Just before the last time I started a company, I'm going to take a deep breath and decompress and see where the ideas lead me.
Ad Age: More generally speaking, what is CBS's long-term strategy with regard to television programming moving online?
Mr. Soohoo: It's an exciting time to be in CBS's position. I don't think there's ever been a stronger division to own content. The phrase "content is king" is really showing now, and looking at all these distribution opportunities, it's been unparalleled in the history of media. It's an important thing for CBS to think about, and I'm sure it's going to succeed.