Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CBS News to Let a Web Site Pick Up Its Live Coverage

Seeking a younger audience more accustomed to watching the news on the Internet than on television, CBS News said Monday that it had joined with a live video Web site to simulcast its newscasts and special reports.

The Web site, Ustream, will show the “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric,” breaking news coverage and unfiltered news conferences and speeches. While CBSNews.com already shows many of those live streams, the news division says it hopes to expand its audience by providing video to third-party Web sites.

As their television audiences have stagnated, news providers have tried to connect with younger consumers on the Internet.

Reaction has been tepid to some efforts by networks in recent years, like afternoon Web-only newscasts. But some of Ms. Couric’s online efforts, including a YouTube channel and a Twitter feed, have been well-received.

CBS, which has tried mightily to make inroads as a top news destination on the Web, hopes it can make a dent by working with Ustream, which makes the video more interactive by allowing users to chat beside the live coverage and embed the video player on other sites.

“What we’ve realized is that, as opposed to just keeping all your content on your own Web site in a proprietary manner, we are better off pushing our own news content to as many sources as we can,” Sean McManus, the president of CBS News, said.

Mr. McManus added an important caveat: revenue. Media companies are increasingly willing to spread their video far and wide, but usually only if advertisements are attached. CBS said it would sell the ads on Ustream.

Local affiliates have expressed concern in the past about Internet simulcasts of network shows, but CBS has streamed the “Evening News” since 2006. On television, the newscast remains in third place behind competing offerings on NBC and ABC. In mid-May, the program averaged 5.4 million viewers daily, holding steady from that period last year.

CBS News’s Internet sites were visited by 10.8 million people in April, according to Nielsen Online, up 9 percent from April 2008 but paling in comparison to news sites owned by MSNBC, Yahoo and CNN, which each draw 35 million to 40 million visitors a month.

Source: NY Times

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