CBS gives the finger to YouTube

3 min read

CBSCBS has decided to really take the bull by the horns and bring a lot of its content onto the internet including full TV shows (think CSI, Survivor and Late Show with David Letterman) as well as numerous sporting events including championship boxing.

Its new online TV service is called “Interactive Audience Network” and is really giving the finger to YouTube.

Who needs YouTube

This is one of the biggest pushes to bring traditional TV content online we’ve seen to date.

CBS has agreed distribution deals for all this TV content with a number of online platforms, but guess what, no YouTube.

Partners include:

  • Microsoft
  • CNET Networks
  • Comcast
  • Joost
  • AOL
  • Bebo
  • Brightcove
  • Netvibes
  • Sling Media
  • Veoh

Despite CBS previously striking distribution deals with YouTube and saying how happy it was about it, it has followed the path of Viacom and left YouTube out of the picture.

It’s all free

CBS has stated that it will be delivering content for free which will be supported by advertising. While all the content will be available within the US, only some will be available internationally.

A Change of plan

It was said sometime ago that CBS was still tinkering with the idea of working with other content owners to create its own YouTube.

While CBS was pleased with the results it got from showing TV clips on YouTube it hasn’t gone the route of trying to create a video site of its own.

Instead CBS has decided to work with every online video outlet but YouTube, to bring its content online.

Here’s the official press release from CBS:

NEW YORK, April 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — CBS Corporation announced today the creation of the CBS Interactive Audience Network which will initially include new content deals with a host of online distributors including AOL, Microsoft, CNET Networks, Comcast, Joost, Bebo, Brightcove, Netvibes, Sling Media and Veoh. The agreements, building on the Company’s existing arrangements, solidify CBS’s position as the most widely distributed professional content provider on the Web.

All content will be advertiser supported and free to the consumer. CBS will begin selling the CBS Interactive Audience Network in the coming weeks, including the upcoming Upfront marketplace. Advertising revenue will be shared between CBS and its partners. All content will be available domestically with select clips and full-length sports programming distributed worldwide.

“Today marks an important step in our strategy to distribute content broadly across the online interactive landscape on an open, non-exclusive basis,” said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “Each of these partners offers value to our audience and our advertisers, who can now come to CBS not only for the most watched network on television, but for the most widely distributed professional content online.”

“CBS’s ability to partner with leading next-generation interactive platforms is the best way for CBS to evolve from a content company to an audience company,” said Quincy Smith, President, CBS Interactive. “It’s really all about the user and in building the CBS Interactive Audience Network, we are bringing our content to each unique platform of their choice. In remaining open to all online distributors and community builders – big and small – we can learn more about our existing audience, be exposed to new ones, and flexibly cater to their changing consumption habits.”

A rotating list within a specified viewing timeframe of programming from entertainment, news and sports will be offered including CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTI-GATION, LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, SURVIVOR, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, CSTV GAME OF THE WEEK, CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC, among others, including classic programming from the vast library of CBS Television Distribution.

CBS has previously entered into existing and ongoing content distribution arrangements with Yahoo!, Apple iTunes, Microsoft’s Xbox, Amazon UnBox and many others.

Mirroring the online strategy, CBS Mobile also employs direct agreements with each of the three largest US wireless carriers – AT&T/Cingular, Verizon Wireless and Sprint – as well as leading next generation platforms such as Qualcomm MediaFLO.

“This is definitely a progressive approach to content distribution, not only due to its scope, but also because it allows consumers to share and engage with content,” said Curt Hecht, chief digital officer at GM Planworks and a leading digital expert across Starcom MediaVest Group, one of the world’s largest media communications organizations and a division of Publicis. “By pushing beyond simple cable and satellite as distribution outlets, CBS is finding new ways to leverage the reach and scale of the portals, while also giving consumers the control they increasingly demand to share content. This is an exciting new business model and valuable to SMG as we pursue new and enduring consumer connections.”

Rino Scanzoni, Chief Investment Officer with Group M, a leading global media investment management company under WPP, one of the world’s largest communications services groups, added, “Our clients are looking for quality content to resonate their message and for maximum distribution to activate results. CBS will clearly achieve both these objectives, hands down.”

CBS also announced that Akamai Technologies, Inc. will serve as the content delivery network to power the CBS Interactive Audience Network.

“Akamai is excited to extend its long-standing relationship with CBS by providing comprehensive media delivery and syndication technologies that will support CBS’s new offerings for online viewers,” said Robert Hughes, Executive Vice President of Global Sales, Services and Marketing, Akamai Technologies, Inc. “Syndicating thousands of digital assets online requires a solution that ensures business policies and rights associated with the content stay intact. By leveraging Akamai’s advanced media delivery solutions, CBS is able to maintain control of their high-value media, while providing online consumers around the world with a consistently high-quality experience.”