CBS to Take Online Video Seriously
CBS is re-launching TV.com, a site it picked up in its CNET acquisition. Currently, the site is kind of a go-to resource for all things television, except actual TV content. They do have some video clips and episodes of things, but it’s not Hulu.
That’s going to change, however as it gets a more Hulu-like makeover from the sounds of it. Although, the qualities the site already possesses are likely to stick around as well. PaidContent.org reports:
While it’s being talked about by content partners and others as the CBS answer to Hulu.com, that’s not quite the way I think CBS sees it. Hulu.com, launched in beta in late 2007 and for real in March 2008, is a video destination with a solid video search engine and some community elements that have yet to really take off. Launched in 2005, TV.com has been a “digital water cooler” about anything and everything having to do with TV, drawing more than 16 million unique monthly visitors and boasting info about nearly 19,000 shows. As planned, the new version would blend the two by making TV.com into a real video destination, not a place where you happen to watch video, while continuing to build on its community strengths and its depth of content about TV. CBS doesn’t want TV.com to be Hulu—it wants to move beyond Hulu.
CBS execs aren’t ready to discuss—or even confirm—the project, which is still in product development (likely to be a constant state) and is being rolled out in phases. But CEO Leslie Moonves singled out TV.com for investors last week as “extremely exciting,” explaining “we think TV.com will become the destination, or certainly one of the leading destinations, for anybody who wants to watch TV shows or have a community around TV shows, see clips, play games, etc.”
To me, it sounds kind of like an IMDB for television, only with more video content (although IMDB’s working on that too):
CBS is really showing that it doesn’t want to be left behind in terms of online video competition. Apart from this, they recently announced that they would be streaming SEC college basketball games at CBSsports.com (this is big news here in our hometown of Lexington, KY, home of the Kentucky Wildcats). Last year, they streamed all of the March Madness games and that went over quite well, so it is no surprise to see them streaming some regular season games this year. Their schedule for that is as follows:
As far as TV.com goes, the content is what is going to count when it comes to competing with Hulu, YouTube and other forces in the online video industry (an industry that continues to grow rapidly). Winning viewers is going to be no easy task, with so many options available, but the powerful brand of "America’s most watched network," should help bring some TV.com’s way. And the strong user-base that it already has are probably more likely to stick around if they can find the videos they want to watch there. It could lead to Hulu and others looking at offering other types of content on their own sites.