by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
itunes, online video, piracy, tv

apple, cbs, nbc

CBS More Focused On Keeping Fans Happy

from the keep-the-fans-happy,-and-business-models-work-out dept

It's fascinating to watch the different approaches that competitors NBC and CBS are taking to dealing with the online video market. NBC has seemed almost to have a new strategy every day, happily putting videos up on YouTube, pulling them down from YouTube, being happy with YouTube, being upset with YouTube, putting videos on iTunes, pulling them down from iTunes. It's as if NBC doesn't have a real strategy at all -- or, at the very least, different factions within the company "win" every few weeks or so. In contrast, you have CBS, who recognized the importance of online video at nearly the same time as NBC. However, rather than going with a constantly shifting target, CBS's strategy has evolved in a pretty straight line. The company quickly realized that distribution and awareness was a lot more important than protection and focused on getting videos available wherever people wanted to view them (not just where CBS could control everything). That meant syndicating the content as widely as possible and even embracing the benefits from people sharing CBS content on YouTube and other sites. That's why it's not too surprising to hear CBS' Les Moonves respond to questions about NBC's decision to take its content off iTunes by saying that CBS is thrilled with iTunes and sees no reason to follow NBC's decision. The really telling statement is this one: "We look at iTunes as much as a promotional vehicle for our shows as a financial vehicle." That's why NBC is focused on putting up barriers for viewers, while CBS appears to be focused on taking them down.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Danny, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 11:52am

    It's about time...

    that someone is at least trying to do it right. I just hope that NBC gets some decent shows on its main tv network that it will be worth going online to see/purchase them. Heroes and Law and Order:SVU are great but a precious few standout shows don't make a network.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    Which is why I will continue to obtain my weekly fix of the "The Office" off of Torrents, rather than any legal means that NBC prescribes too.

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

  3. identicon
    Brian, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 12:26pm

    Corporate natural selection...beautiful. I find myself more interested in CBS shows than I am NBC shows

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

  4. identicon
    Old Guy, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 12:43pm

    CBS vs NBC

    And CBS rebroadcasts some of it's top shows (all the incarnations of CSI, Las Vegas, etc) on the Evil Empire(Comcast) free of charge. NBC is there too, but it's nothing but trailers.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 12:50pm

    NBC can be that way....

    CBS has better shows anyway.

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

  6. identicon
    Haywood, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 12:51pm

    Fortunately NBC has little worthwhile content

    Very seldom is NBC my channel of choice, CBS, Fox, even CW (at least until they canned Veronica Mars) almost anyone else has better programing. Pointless sitcoms and reality TV don't get me where I want to go.

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

  7. identicon
    Lord, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 4:22pm

    CBS learned

    from it's missteps in the cable industry, that it is in the entertainment industry and never forgot it.

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

  8. identicon
    Sheradon, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 5:17pm

    By forcing the issue againts Apple they are in deed frustrating the customers who have the ease of using Itunes.

    Anything else will not come even close to the ease of use.

    Dum NBC,

    Bravo for CBS

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

  9. identicon
    Proud as penguin, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 8:22pm

    number 4 and falling

    This is The same way as they run there network.
    Last season how many time can you air the same show and then wounder why your ratings fall.

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

  10. identicon
    Luke Smith, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 9:43pm

    Quick and dirty analysis of the content provider

    Revenue is revenue, where ever it comes from, be it from On Demand, The Theater, PPV, DVD sales or indirectly through advertising.

    By removing ad revenue and implementing a onDemand-style model (which is what iTunes is) requires a strategic need to create good content all the time, rather than trying to compete against the 4 or 5 pieces of content being provided in that specific timeslot. OnDemand model is where the industry will eventually be in the next 5 years.

    What's confusing is the logic behind moving to Amazon and maintaining end-user costs at $1.99. Operating costs being roughly the same, wouldn't a company want to partner with, and exploit the market that has the most eyeballs, lowest barriers of entry for the consumer, and good customer satisfaction scores? This comes from questions posed to coworkers, and I have yet to find someone who is going to invest in a Zune so they can watch NBC Content. They'll do what I've done- the equivalent of turning the channel and find something else to watch. (gasp!)

    Nielsen is quite possibly the most important thing to The Industry, and until Nielsen starts tracking TV show downloads as viewers (which actually isn't that bad of an idea) we probably won't see a technology-focused strategy focused on mass-appeal. By that time, CBS will have established more market share in the Download Market.

    "Not everything that matters counts. Not everything that can be counted matters" -Albert Einstein

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

  11. identicon
    no, Sep 20th, 2007 @ 5:43am

    Who cares? Honestly, when was the last time anyone watched NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, WB or UPN? The only show worth watching on any of those networks combined is Heroes and you can get that via torrent.

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

  12. identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 20th, 2007 @ 9:52am

    And today NBC announces NBC Direct, which will allow users to download "free" content from NBC.

    Is it any surprise that NBC might want to use their own system rather than deal with Apple?

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

  13. identicon
    Luke Smith, Sep 20th, 2007 @ 1:05pm

    Apple like a Mercedes, NBC like 85 octane.

    When will NBC start to understand that Apple is not a Ford Taurus, but a Mercedes.

    Like the Mercedes, the hardware costs more, requires better gasoline, but the engineering is what people pay for.

    people who drive the mercedes are usually prime customers with purchasing power. to that point, i have about $350 in apple accessories including TV adapters, ipod clock radios both at home and work, and $200 shure headphones for the weekly airplane trip.

    committed to apple, next purchase will be an iphone. i can't see why anybody would buy a taurus (playsforsure) device when microsoft isn't even standing behind it.

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

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