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.

Filed Under: itunes, online video, piracy, tv
Companies: apple, cbs, nbc


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  1. identicon
    Luke Smith, 19 Sep 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

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