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CBS Streaming Prime-Time Shows – What’s Not to Like?

CBS is planning to join ABC’s earlier experiment of streaming prime-time shows. This makes total sense. Repurposing content. New ad revenue streams. Tapping into the long tail. My only question is why are the networks taking so long to implement such an obvious product extension? I’m guessing the local affiliates don’t like the fact that they’re going to lose out on some eyeballs and ad revenue, but will it really be that significant? After all, if you’re a loyal follower of a particular show, haven’t you got a DVR to automatically record it every week? If not the DVR, how about a VCR?

So who is the most likely consumer for this service? How about every working stiff with a computer in front of them?  Yes, office productivity is about to take a hit as the networks start rolling out more and more of these streaming options.



The local affiliate issue is precisely the reason why all networks aren't doing this. CBS just negotiated with their member stations to share ad revenue for their online initiative, per today's WSJ:

"CBS signed a new contract with its local stations last spring that loosens restrictions on what CBS can do with programming and gives stations an unspecified piece of new media deals. Earlier this week, CBS said it will start streaming episodes of certain prime-time shows, free of charge, on its Innertube Web portal the morning after they air. CBS says ad inventory on Innertube for the streaming launch next month sold out within a day to big-name companies, including Target and General Motors."

Given the advertiser interest, I can see other networks quickly convincing their affiliates to get on the bandwagon, particularly for new shows that could use the extra exposure that the Internet provides.

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