During the years when Viacom’s web vision was covered with cataracts, CBS MarketWatch and CBS Sportsline thrived because they were outside the process. They had the name and some investment but not the baggage of being part of a big company. Now Sportsline is owned by CBS, MarketWatch is with Dow Jones and Larry Kramer is on the inside at Viacom proposes to spin off as the new CBS. During an interview by Chad Capellman (MP3 here), Kramer said, “in the early days of the Internet it was very beneficial to be independent.” But in these more mature — and more lucrative — times, some major companies are proving to be more responsive. “CBS is actually extremely receptive now to new innovation on the Web, almost the way the public markets were five, six, seven or eight years ago.”
Kramer also suggested that broadband video delivery “takes the edge off of the value of having a cable news network to deliver video.” That’s a good selling point at CBS, which never quite figured out how to crack the cable news business despite numerous rumors of talks with CNN and other ideas.
Also in his talks, Kramer mentioned that CBS will also launch an online edition of 60 Minutes, and incorporate feedback and video from bloggers. CBS will also put its entire archive of news video online. The archive will be free, although it might become a paid service later.