CBS Looks To Put Superbowl Online; Recognizes Online Doesn't Cannibalize TV Viewing

from the about-time dept

CBS has certainly taken a much more enlightened view to online content than NBC. While it's true that NBC is seeing a lot of success with Hulu, the company resisted online efforts for years, and has always resisted the idea of allowing people to watch content as they want to. Instead, the company has focused on limiting how, where and when you can watch its content. CBS, on the other hand, was an early believer in focusing less on control and more on just getting your content out there. For an example of this contrast, look at how the two networks are dealing with big sporting events.

As recently discussed, NBC is working hard to make it as difficult as possible for you to watch the Olympics online, even when its own experience showed that online viewers didn't cannibalize TV viewers -- in fact the opposite happened. People who watched online watched more TV. So why are they trying to make it so hard to watch online?

Meanwhile, CBS, which had tremendous success webcasting the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament is now working to see if it can get the permission to broadcast the Super Bowl online as well (thanks to MattP for sending this in), knowing that it will likely bring in a larger audience, and increase the opportunities for everyone.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Bobby McDoogle, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    I am sure I misunderstood...

    But doesn't cannibalize mean that one person is eating another person? I read this story twice, but don't understand what it means. All I see is that someone is eating another.

     

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      JD (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:02am

      Re: I am sure I misunderstood...

      Just in case you're serious and not just trolling...

      Like many words in the English language, cannibalize has more than one usage.

      can⋅ni⋅bal⋅ize
      –verb (used with object)

      3. to cut into; cause to become reduced; diminish: New products introduced in the next six months will cannibalize sales from established lines.



      Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=cannibalize+&search=search

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:14am

      Re: I am sure I misunderstood...

      Not sure if your post was sarcastic or not, but it;s a metaphor. If online viewing were cannibalizing tv viewing, was is meant is that one form is stealing viewers from the other - essentially they are eating into each others viewership. Picture two people eating eachother(!) and I think you'll start to understand the metaphor.

       

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    R. Miles, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    A shame I don't watch CBS save 1 show.

    CBS recently added its on demand service to our Brighthouse network. Granted, it's only a few shows, but it's a start.

    Where's ABC and NBC? *crickets*

    I applaud CBS for taking the proactive approach. I just wish they offered shows I'd like besides "The Big Bang Theory".

    NBC is falling. Again. Not even "Heroes" can save this network. Karma?

    But of course, my TV viewing has dropped significantly in the last 6 months. Aside from a few shows I DVR (and two are no longer around), there's no reason to watch TV anymore.

    Laptop + TV = unlimited content with fewer commercial interruptions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    The issue here won't be CBS, but the NFL. They hold their rights pretty close to the chest. I'd be surprised if they didn't make it pretty hard for CBS to put it online.

    Cannibalize does mean eating another person. He's using it in a figurative sense. Instead of online viewership "eating" regular viewers and thus taking them away, it actually increased interest.

    My problem isn't NBC, it's Fox. I like that new show Dollhouse. I missed a week about a month ago. I want to watch it on TV, but they have made that inconvenient for me. It's too long to watch on a computer. So, I've missed the last 3 or 4 broadcast shows because hulu wants to stay off of TV.

    If the episode I missed expires from hulu, they'll lose my viewership altogether.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Now if only they would smarten up and stop blocking any IP outside of the US!! I pay to have CBS on my cable, but can't access their video feeds online... wtf.

     

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    Ben Matthews, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:31am

    NBC is getting a bad rap

    The Olympics was a huge success for them. As stated in the Mix keynote this past year, they had such success using the web presence to ENHANCE their TV viewership, they can't wait to do it again. Many of the problems that you said NBC fell short with were logistical ones, not decisions to be shortsighted.

    "CBS recently added its on demand service to our Brighthouse network. Granted, it's only a few shows, but it's a start.

    Where's ABC and NBC? *crickets*"

    Ask Brighthouse, both cable providers here in Atlanta have on demand showing for both those networks. This doesn't seem to be a policy by NBC or ABC to not have the content shown, but more of a cable provider one.

    I feel that most of the thoughts around these topics is "The more you can give away, the better" and that is not always true. There are many ways and fashions in which just getting your name out in as many avenues as possivle is a very good thing. Other times, controlling the way in which people can view content isn't bad. I am not saying that NBC is doing this perfectly, but I think the hard line many people at techdirt take of "Free to everyone = better" isn't always the case.

     

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      The infamous Joe, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:24am

      Re: NBC is getting a bad rap

      Other times, controlling the way in which people can view content isn't bad.

      Isn't bad for whom, exactly? Because when I want to watch something online and cannot I consider that bad. Since it's my eyeballs they want watching their ads, making it harder for me to look at them seems like it will be bad for them, too.

      So it's bad for me, and bad for them. Who am I missing in this that it *isn't* bad for?

      I think the hard line many people at techdirt take of "Free to everyone = better" isn't always the case

      I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but NBC gives its stuff away for free over the air. In HD. So, they too, believe that "Free to everyone = better". I mean, as long as it's not via a web page-- that would totally ruin them, it seems. Enlighten me on this one, please.

       

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        Ben Matthews, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re: NBC is getting a bad rap

        Isn't bad for whom, exactly? Because when I want to watch something online and cannot I consider that bad. Since it's my eyeballs they want watching their ads, making it harder for me to look at them seems like it will be bad for them, too.

        Sometimes it's simply part of the value creation model they have setup. Perhaps they want to provide ads in a certain way that their advertisers demanded. By doing this they are able to do things in a far more nonintrusive way without sacrificing revenue. Perhaps they had a hard policy of never putting ads over the games (which I would appreciate), which means if they were to make the ads embeddable they would have to remove advertising altogether, which provides other potentially dangerous legal hazards. There are dozens of scenarios in which more value is provided to everyone if distribution is controlled. There are so many factors, determined by so many parties that come into these decisions other than a simple question "Should we give this stuff away or not?"

        I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but NBC gives its stuff away for free over the air. In HD. So, they too, believe that "Free to everyone = better". I mean, as long as it's not via a web page-- that would totally ruin them, it seems. Enlighten me on this one, please.

        They are not giving it away for "Free", like you said they want your eyeballs looking at ads. Thats just one single distrubution channel that NBC is happy to show with advertising interuptions. Their web platform had very few interuptions, if any for some games, and would be considered more "free" than the example you site as proof they think "Free = better". I am still not sure what you are wanting me to enlighten you on here. My point is, it simply isn't always the case that free distribution all around is better for everyone, in my opinion.

         

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      Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

      Re: NBC is getting a bad rap

      The Olympics was a huge success for them. As stated in the Mix keynote this past year, they had such success using the web presence to ENHANCE their TV viewership, they can't wait to do it again. Many of the problems that you said NBC fell short with were logistical ones, not decisions to be shortsighted.

      Uh, let's go back and look at what happened. Yes, it was a huge success, but the success they talked about was how they "stopped piracy" by *LIMITING* what people can do online and limiting the content available. They even admitted they were wrong in believing that it would cannibalize their tv audience... and yet they STILL talked about LIMITING how people could watch the olympics online.

      And, yes, they're looking to do it again... but again by limiting people.

      So, no, NBC isn't getting a bad rap. They earned it by not understanding their own audience.

       

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    Mitch (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Ok CBS now where is Hte big bang theory, Two and a half men and other shows you do not put full episodes online

    I will applaud what they have done now just go all the way show us exactly what it is like to embrace online. Put everything you got online and available (with commercials etc so you can make your money I am not saying put it without a way of making money) I just want to see Big Bang and my wife wants 2 and a half men... and currently we can not! (unless we look to other methods like DVR.

     

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      Matt T., Apr 20th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Ok CBS now where is Hte big bang theory, Two and a half men and other shows you do not put full episodes online

      I agree completely. I was shocked to find that full episodes were not available of the Big Bang Theory, 2.5 Men, or The Mentalist and Criminal Minds. These are by far my favorite show on CBS, and they are only available in small clips, not full episodes (even then, they take you to CBS' site, off of Hulu with the great controls).

       

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    Snidely, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:04am

    It's a start

    I applaud CBS for trying this with the Superbowl, but I agree that us overseas viewers are going to be left out in the cold. The NCAA tournament was great online with CBS (amazing quality), but I only got to wawtch it in England because the NCAA hasn't licensed the tourney to overseas TV. The NFL will block this for overseas viewers. The stupid thing is the BBC doesn't even show the commercials. That's half the enjoyment of the SB. I would rather watch the game online with the commericals than watch the BBC's inane coverage.

     

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    Dan, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    I guess, but there is a pretty big difference between the Olympics and the Superbowl, namely, one lasts for weeks and the other for hours. If you can watch the olympics online, you'll probably watch some stuff you like, and notice your favorite swimmer has a race tomorrow, so you catch it on TV. In that way it does lead to more TV views for NBC. But the superbowl is like three hours long, and most people tend to watch it with friends and I'd imagine they're pretty likely to either just watch it on the big screen TV, or just on their PC... not really both.

     

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      MattP, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 9:38am

      Re:

      It all comes down to whether you'd get added value from having both at the same time. During the NFL season I watch the games on my TV but have the laptop around for stats/fantasy football scoring/etc.

      There have been plenty of times where a call was questionable and they show two horrible shots over and over. If I could get extra camera angles from the online version you bet I'd have that available.

       

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    Steve Duffy, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    The die hard fans and even lesser fans won't switch from watching the game on their 52" plasmas or even 32" CRTs to their 19" LCD monitors. It's just not as interesting.

    But if you're like me, you just watched the Boston Marathon huddled over a coworker's shoulder on his monitor because, where I'm at, you can't get it on a real tv.

    The medium provides a specific experience and streaming onto your computer's monitor lessens the experience of watching football compared to a bigger screen. So, there's nothing to worry about on the part of the networks. At least until everyone hooks their computers to their tvs.

     

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    Brandon, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    More Good News For CBS

    This might be kind of off subject but it does show how CBS seems to get it better than NBC does. CBS on demand shows on Comcast are still free to watch any time. But NBC now charges 99 cents to view their on demand content on Comcast! At least, that's how much they charge for The Office. I haven't priced any other shows, like hour long dramas to see if they're more. Thank God for my DVR to record The Office, the only show I still watch on NBC.

     

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    candy goodrich, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 4:02am

    cannot see CBS anymore

    I cannot get CBS on my TV anymore. It went off the air approximately 1 week ago. Are you still there?

     

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    khon kaen, Jan 20th, 2013 @ 6:59pm

    Superbowl online in Thailand?

    Will CBS make it available worldwide or only in the US of A?

     

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