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Thursday, January 11, 2007

CBS to Set Content Free

Congratulations Les Moonves, you really get it.

The CBS CEO has been ushering his company into the digital age more aggressively than any other network TV provider, and at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), he fully embraced the YouTube mashup model.

Moonves says allowing fans to take clips and slice and dice content is a good thing and will only increase the value of its programs, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Moonves announced a deal with Sling Media allowing netizens to carve up their content and share it with others online, and split the advertising revenue. So we'll soon be able to watch CBS mashups online and on the TV through the SlingCatcher (take that Apple TV!).

Moonves turned the online NCAA basketball tournament broadcast from a subscription to ad-supported model last year and increased revenue 18 fold, according to MediaPost. CBS plans on getting its due from shows watched through DVRs as well.

While most television content isn't worth paying for, it is extremely valuable when it can be freely distributed with ads inserted. Freeing content for all to save, share and manipulate will be the most important development in video advertising and TV network ad revenue for the next few years, and watch as NBC and ABC fall in line. Fox has been the least Web friendly, and not surprisingly ratings have fallen this year. Imagine what fun fans of 24 and American Idol could have if Fox facilitated mashups!

By Jason Dowdell at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

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