“CBS, the top-ranked US television network, on Wednesday announced plans to broadcast for free three episodes of its new drama, Threshold, on the company’s website,” Joshua Chaffin reports for The Financial Times. “The move marks the first time that CBS has made one of its dramatic series available on the web, and highlights the broadcast television networks’ growing embrace of the Internet both for distribution and promotion of its content.”
“In a landmark move, Walt Disney earlier this month unveiled plans to sell episodes of its top-rated ABC shows, Lost and Desperate Housewives, for download through Apple’s iTunes store a day after their debut. The programmes cost $1.99 apiece,” Chaffin reports. “The CBS strategy differs because the episodes will only be available for a limited three-day window after their initial broadcast, and will not carry advertising. The goal for CBS is to build a bigger audience for Threshold’s advertising-supported network broadcast, as well as increasing visitors to its CBS.com website. ‘We continue to seek and identify new ways in which traditional media and new media can work together to help each other’s respective businesses,’ said Nancy Tellem, President of the CBS Paramount television group.”
Full article here.
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Well, keep on seeking, Ms. Tellem, because you’re nowhere near the answer. Take a look at the video CBS is offering (for a limited time only) here – don’t worry, you’re not going legally blind, it really does look like crap using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player plug-in.
Now, even Microsoft’s WMP can look better than that, we must admit. CBS needs to stop being afraid and embrace new media. Give us good quality video, forget about the “driving traffic to the website” foolishness, and drop the “limited time only” nonsense. This is typical of network TV thinking: too limited, virtually useless and sucks as a promotion. It’s also a prime example of why the old guard media should thank their lucky stars for Steve Jobs’ Apple.
CBS, the answer has already been provided for you. It’s called iTunes. Gather up your courage to make a real decision for once, give Apple a call, then go ahead and make Threshold available in good quality, sans the ads, for $1.99 an episode. That way we can buy it, catch up on back episodes of a show we think we might like and perhaps begin to watch it regularly.