The lines separating online video, tablet PC "magazine" applications and traditional TV are blurring. This week brought the news that cable TV news pioneer CNN is buying iPad news app developer Zite, while Zite-rival Flipboard reportedly is looking into adding TV streaming to its rapidly expanding world of info and entertainment.
CNN's Zite acquisition comes after a rising tide of speculation in recent days that something was happening with the two companies. The deal terms were not disclosed, though All Things D suggested CNN may be paying at least $20 million for Zite.
It is unclear how the deal could change Zite's future plans--CNN says it will run Zite as a standalone and will not force its own content to become prominent on Zite. At the same time, Zite's expertise reportedly will be aimed at helping CNN deliver more personalized news and information at a time when CNN has been seen getting more interested in pursuing a TV Everywhere model.
Flipboard, meanwhile, told Reuters that it is looking into the possibility of delivering movies and TV online, a fairly surprising notion that would have the popular iPad magazine maven entering a crowded market and taking on juggernauts like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu, which already have strong relationships with many content companies.
It is unclear how an online video offering would be packaged in connection with the existing Flipboard app, which has been downloaded more than 3 million times.
Content companies apparently are seeing the personalization aspects of Zite, Flipboard and similar apps as key to reaching tablet PC users, though it remains unclear what the actual readerships of these apps look like.
Flipboard makes the Fierce 15 for 2011
CNN has been touting a TV Everywhere plan