CBS Recognizes That You Must (And You Can) Compete With Free

from the recognizing-the-inevitable dept

Earlier this week we were surprised, but happy, to see folks at CBS apparently realizing that putting videos online for free helped them by getting more viewers interested in their TV shows, increasing the viewership that can be sold to advertisers. This was quite an about face from just a year ago when CBS apparently believed that the future was in selling videos online. However, it appears to go even further than just recognizing the basic value in putting videos online. CBS execs seem to finally be coming to terms with the lack of scarcity in digital economics and the fact that you compete with “free” because you have to. A senior exec at CBS was quoted this week about how the company was beginning to figure out how this works: “If they’re going to steal it, give it to them anyway, but also make it easier to access and present it better than YouTube or BitTorrent or anywhere else.” That means recognizing who you’re really competing with, while also recognizing that you can add additional value. The same executive, David Poltrack, also noted that there’s “economic value” in serving what “the public really wants.” These may not sound like revolutionary concepts, but it’s been quite some time since we’ve heard anything like that from a major media executive.


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Comments on “CBS Recognizes That You Must (And You Can) Compete With Free”

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12 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Baby steps...

I think quality and easy access work in conjunction with embedded video. Can you put a hour long HD show on YouTube? I didn’t think so. But the networks can put clips and low quality videos on those services and provide higher quality on their web site. Heck, they can even charge some money for HD quality video, and I’m sure people would buy it.

In fact, the music industry could learn a lesson here as well. Where is the RIAA’s media player that is freely available, with free low-bitrate songs, ad-supported medium-bitrate songs, and purchased high-bitrate songs? You know, the one that has video, info, and links to the band and label web site? I can’t believe that it’s been nearly a decade since Napster first came out, and there’s nothing like this coming from the music industry. Talk about having your head up your ass. They’ve been given millions of dollars worth of free marketing research, and they’ve done nothing with it. They deserve their impending unemployment.

Rick says:

This feels like deja vu to me…

Last week my DVR decided to stop recording Shark and ER at precisely 9:48PM – slashing the last 12 minutes of the shows.

I watched ER anyway, realizing I couldn’t see the end. Then I went to NBCs site to see if they had it online – nope, it’s one of their shows they only provide a 2 minute reviw option for, so I got to see next weeks ‘Previously tape’ basically. I was disappointed.

CBS, on the other hand, has their shows available in full length in 16:9 format (not HD quality yet), so I was able to pick up the final 12 minutes of Shark after watching a couple Flushed Away commercials.

In fact, I decided to go see the movie because of the fact that CBS cared enough to provide me with what I wanted and needed.

I think I’ll go D/L ER off PirateBay tho, screw NBC all they care about is their bottom line, not their viewers. It’s probably their sue happy parent company Universal – all lawyered up suing parody makers…

I know where my loyalty is going to be now. Go CBS!

Anonymous Coward says:

I say a positive letter writing campaign is in order. Just email them with a thank you and keep up the good work type letter. If all consumers do is complain when the wrong thing is being done, then get quiet when the right thing is being done, we look ungrateful for a step in the right direction and it becomes harder to tell when they are doing the right thing.

Rich says:

Innertube and Discovery Beyond

Usually they just put the AD on the media player itself like YouTube does and you can click on it if you want to go to the Innertube website.

I have been watching Shark and Smith on CBS Innertube and the quality is excellent even at full screen in their embedded realplayer. It gos fullscreen very quickly.

Also check out Discovery’s Beyond player. Has the bug shows I think all of them and a bunch of other clips from about 5 stations. Motorcycles and Google Earth, Animal Planet, TLC.

http://animal.discovery.com/beyond/

Cpt_America says:

Innertube Fails to Deliver Value - Just More Comme

I have been watching Innertube Episodes of CSI, Jericho, Numb3rs, etc for some time. I have Comcast Ultra High Speed Internet service with 10 Mbits download speed. I can download about a 1Gbyte in about 30 mins. or so. For a while the service worked faily well with one or two restarts. Now I cannot watch a complete episode of any of these shows.

Of course the commercials have all been FLAWLESS and very annoying as the sound level of the commercials are always 20DB higher than the shows. Now I have noticed as of today that they are only advertising ATT and their own Innertube content. The complaints to Target and Listerine and so on must have made them pull those ads.

There is NO SUPPORT offered which I find very INSULTING because it shows their attitude is that “What do you want for free?” but it is NOT FREE when you have commercials RAMMED down your throat every 5 minutes (perfectly streamed I might add) while the show you are trying to watch CRASHES all the time!

They need to stream the content out to the clients as the show is being watched. Users like me will benefit by getting the whole show downloaded in just a few minutes. Others will benefit too because my request for the feed has ended as it is already residing on my PC.

They need to stop throttling the stream and allow it to run full bore just as they do for the commercials. My guess is that it just shows an attitude that really STINKS at CBS, too bad the shows I like are under the control of IDIOTS in the Internet Division at CBS!!!!

Listen to this guy Larry Kramer,CBS Digital Media President bragging:

“But Innertube comes amid “a quantum leap in advertiser support for Web video” fueled by large increases in broadband distribution, says CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer.

This spring, visitors to CBS’ SportsLine saw 5 million video streams of NCAA college basketball tournament games, earning CBS $4 million in ad revenue. “We do know the ad community is lined up to support it,” Kramer says.”

To this guy it’s all about force feeding commercials to us and to heck with providing a superior broadband service for fans of these shows.

I would do to them like the Donald and say “Ya Fiyed!”

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