CBS Is The Latest To Recognize That Downloading TV Shows Leads To More TV Watching

from the slowly,-but-surely dept

We were among those who were quite surprised when Viacom and its subsidiary Comedy Central forced a bunch of clips from its popular TV shows off of YouTube, noting that those clips had done plenty to attract new fans to the shows, while also keeping existing fans interested in coming back for more. While they eventually came to some sort of agreement (that probably involved some money changing hands), it appears that more TV execs are finally realizing that people watching their shows online leads to more viewers of the shows on TV. Simon Favreau-Lessard writes in to let us know that a new study from CBS found that downloading leads to more TV watching, and they plan to make use of that knowledge in how they use and promote their content online. Again, while the networks obviously have the right to demand this content get taken down, it's good to see them starting to realize that exercising that right often is a bad long-term business decision.
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  1. identicon
    Chris, 20 Nov 2006 @ 3:33am

    Especially true for established series...

    This is especially true for established series IMHO. Often there is no chance for a viewer to get back and watch the original episodes that lead to the later series, but in doing so online the tv show gains a whole new generation of viewers. Those people are obviously going to be watching the latest releases on tv as they are coming out (after they have caught up that is).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    PhysicsGuy, 20 Nov 2006 @ 3:51am

    eh... not always

    ... i don't watch tv anymore... everything i watch, the office, lost, south park, simpsons, family guy, american dad (yes 2 shows and a bunch of cartoons), i simply download... i wonder why we even pay for cable anymore. once you start watching shows without commercials it's painful to go back...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Paul, 20 Nov 2006 @ 5:30am

    TV license in the UK means I don't have TV

    with the TV license in the UK now being over US$200 equivalent, and such crap on TV there's not much to watch, I find that I can download enough TV from torrent sites to satisfy my occasional need to vegetate and turn off my mind; I can buy quite a few DVDs with that money.

    Given that there's a monpoly satellite TV provider in the UK who charge US$70 per month for a complete package, especially if you want the PVR system, you've got to be a serious TV addict to want to waste US$90+ on television.

    Go find something more interesting to do and enjoy life than watch TV

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Bob Jones, 20 Nov 2006 @ 5:58am

    @Paul: Sky are not a monoply - cable and freeview are constantly challenging them to lower prices/offer more - they may be the only Sattelite provider, but they are not the only company to go to for television content - you make Rupert Murdoch sound worse than he is, if Sky is the only provider - its not because they've stopped competition, its because nobody has tried.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Rico J. Halo, 20 Nov 2006 @ 6:13am

    I was banned at YouTube

    For having Daily Show clips on my page. Im rather surprised that CBS actually gets it. They all will eventually...if they choose to survive that is. The old line media business model just wont work in an internet enabled world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2006 @ 6:35am

    Boneheads at the networks still don't get it...

    The real solution to this is to give the content away for free but with ad support. This is the way broadcast tv has worked for ages, and I don't see them one step away from the grave yet. The best part is that you'll see ads that are targeted at your needs, so instead of tampons you'll be looking at the latest gaming peripheral or digital camera.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    ChronoFish, 20 Nov 2006 @ 7:24am

    Internet Video On Demand is Here Now

    Recently the Web3.0 has been dabated on slashdot. I personally would argue that Web3.0 is less about the "semantic web" and more about video: Case in point - YouTube/GooTube and the "Big Three" releasing full episodes of "quality" content.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Sam Alex, 20 Nov 2006 @ 9:00am

    About time someone saw the obvious

    Now'days most shows on television write each episode based on prior episodes, so though not a true soap opera, having seen the prior episodes establishes the show and characters better. SciFi Network has proven this time upon time with Battlestar Galactica, which was one of the most downloaded shows when the series started. Even having all the episodes available ahead of time thanks to them showing in the UK before in the US, Scifi still said BSG was the most watched series in their history.

    If I miss the first part of a series, I'm not watching the last until i catch-up. If that means downloading through bittorrent, buying through itunes, renting/buying/borrowing DVD, however, I'll do it. Whatever's easier, and for me generally I give bittorrent a shot first -- and then itunes second. Make it easy on us, because in a world with a zillion channels and shows, and a dozen ways to get that content, the easiest road is the path most taken.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    William C Bonner, 20 Nov 2006 @ 9:48am

    The networks agreement should have been for statis

    Any agreement that was arrived at between a network like comedy central and youtube should have been that youtube sent them detailed statistics about the video clips themselves. I'm sure it would be interesting to know how many video starts there were, and what time those were, and also how many were watched to completion, vs if there was a regular point that people stopped watching.

    These are the bits that a BROADCASTER generally has no way of getting information on, but should love to be able to get the feedback on. (though then the problem goes that they might write specifically for the lowest common point, degrading the whole experience)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Bugsy, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:11pm

    CBS free video NOT FOR MACS

    Well yeah, the shows are free, but INNERTUBE, the CBS player is too ignorant to see that i have installed (twice now) the Windows Media necessary to view the shows on my MAC. Forced to use REAL-BAD-PLAYER, I will listen to XM radio instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Tracy, 29 Nov 2006 @ 10:35pm



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Mahala, 15 Dec 2006 @ 6:32pm

    CBS taken off Dish Network

    I was greatful to have CBS through Dish Network for 4 months and then it was removed. You said the Federal Gov. had it cut off. I can't pick WTVY, channel 4 up from where I live via an antennae. What can I do to get it back?
    Thank you, Mahala

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Perro Perdido, 27 Sep 2007 @ 11:56am


    Why are you using all caps? Are you yelling or are you still using DOS? ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2008 @ 4:34am


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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