Comcast To Acquire Plaxo, Add Social Networking To TV

In a move expected to bring social networking to TV viewers, Comcast Corp. has agreed to acquire seminal online social networking platform Plaxo for upwards of $175 million, according to various published reports. The news comes the same day that another television industry giant, CBS Corp., announced a deal to acquire online technology information publisher Cnet for $1.8 billion (see related story in today's edition), and signals a continued push by traditional media companies into the online world.

Both deals look to accelerate the integration of online and traditional media content and distribution, as CBS and Comcast move to blend their new online communities with their TV viewing bases.

For Comcast, that will mean finding ways of leveraging Plaxo, which began life as a rudimentary contacts database, but has evolved into one of the best business and personal connections tools on the Internet, with its TV subscriber base of 24 million households, the largest of any TV operator in the U.S.

How Comcast will fuse its new social networking tools with its cable TV subscribers is anyone's guess, but the company already is a significant player online via its cable modem broadband services, as well as its Comcast.com portal.

The deal comes a week after Comcast entered a partnership with Sprint, Clearwire and Google to launch a powerful, seamless wireless communications platform, giving Comcast a powerful foothold across three screen platforms: TV, online and mobile.

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