CBS Is Starting To Get It... A Little Bit... Maybe...

from the winds-of-change dept

We've looked on -- mostly with derision -- at TV networks' furtive first steps into distributing their content online, and how they misinterpret their limited success, then hamstring their efforts with high charges and irritating restrictions. But maybe, just maybe, that's starting to change. CBS, which already sells episodes of its shows on Google Video and through Comcast video-on-demand, will now sell them on its own web site, too, with its CEO saying the strategy is to get their content on as many platforms as possible. There's still plenty not to like, copy protection and a 24-hour viewing window in particular, but is CBS realizing it needs to distribute its content as widely as possible? As Fred Wilson succinctly puts it, CBS should forget about exclusivity (which doesn't really work online anyway), make their content ubiquitous, and support any and all business models their distributors see fit. Put the content out there, and let people pay for it in the way they choose, whether it's through advertising, subscriptions or purchase. If people aren't satified with the current distibution channels, they'll turn to other ones to get what they want -- ones in which CBS and its brethren have no stake and receive no benefit. The answer's pretty easy, as Wilson says. Put your material out there, and let people sell it however they see fit, and take a cut.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jeff, Feb 2nd, 2006 @ 12:11pm

    Why is DRM even necessary?

    CBS offers these shows for free over the air. Just make it available in mpeg-4 format without DRM. Keep the commercials and make it a free download. I'd rather deal with the commercials than spend $2 or search a bittorrent site for an ad-free copy.

     

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  2.  
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    Cary, Feb 2nd, 2006 @ 12:30pm

    Better idea

    They would get more people to buy their content if they sold it BEFORE it went out over the air waves. There are plenty of people that would pay (even a little more than they charge now) to see the newest episode of Lost or CSI the weekend before it aired on TV. Put all the ads in, share the revenue with the local affiliates. Then lower the price considerably after the episode airs, and make up for the lower price in volume.

    They just need to ask me first. :)

     

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  3.  
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    MonPow, Feb 2nd, 2006 @ 12:47pm

    CBS etc.

    These big media corporations are the slaves of Wallstreet. Wallstreet could care less about ease of use or technology UNLESS it means more bottom line. Don't expect these greed monger suit monkeys running the big media cos to see the light until they can control it and squeeze every penny out of it. In the mean time, they will throw everything including the kitchen sink at anybody that wants technology to create new business models.

     

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  4.  
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    Wolfger, Feb 2nd, 2006 @ 12:58pm

    Now let me do the math...

    I can "rent" a download for 24 hours for $2, or I can rent up to 4 DVDs at a time (@ ~4 episodes per DVD) for $20/month via Netflix. Hmm. I think my answer to CBS is "No!". Not good enough. If I can buy the episode for $2, then maybe, but $2 for a 24-hour rental? That I also have to take the time to download? No way. It's not convenient, not durable, and not economically beneficial to me. Bad business model. No biscuit.

     

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