Viacom Eyes 24 Hour Broadband CBS News Presence

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CBS News and its digital media counterpart will create a 24-hour news network that will be available exclusively online.

CBS News moves away from the days of Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite with a newly announced multi-platform digital news network. A release from parent company Viacom says the new network is “bypassing cable television in favor of the nation’s fastest-growing distribution system — broadband.”

This change will take CBS away from its historical radio and television focus, and was announced jointly by the presidents of CBS’ News and Digital Media divisions, Larry Kramer and Andrew Heyward.

The primary piece of the online presence will be its 24 hour, on demand news network. CBS plans to establish a blog called “Public Eye” to offer people better insights into the news gathering process.

CBSNews.com will have its homepage redesigned, and will place a video player on it. The EyeBox will contain over 25,000 video clips, some of which will be available there before being broadcast on the network.

Betsy Morgan will move over to the new Digital Media division as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the new CBSNews.com. Ms. Morgan has managed the site for the news division since 2001 as part of her role as Vice President, Business Development for CBS News.

Mr. Kramer notes how the company wishes to capture more of the online, on-demand Internet viewers who use the Web more than other outlets. And CBS sees homes connected to broadband exceeding those with cable by 2010. It refers to the repurposing of CBS News as part of a “cable bypass” strategy.

The “Public Eye” blog will have reporter and media writer Vaughan Ververs editing the dialogue between reporters and the public, serving as the conduit for interaction. “Public Eye” should debut by late summer.

Video support for The EyeBox will include Windows Media and Real Video formats. CBSNews.com will encode video for full screen play. The network says breaking news video will be available there, and users will be able to build their own newscasts from available footage.

“We’ve got the resources to make this work,” said Mr. Heyward. “We’re adding more people and technology to make sure that CBSNews.com is the immediate first choice of Internet users who are looking for independent, trustworthy news reporting and comment.”

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Viacom Eyes 24 Hour Broadband CBS News Presence
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