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Summary:

CBS was the only major broadcaster not to join the Hulu consortium and make its shows available on the video site. But at GigaOM RoadMap, CBS Interactive president Jim Lanzone said he believed that keeping those videos on its own site was the right strategic decision.

Jim Lanzone at RoadMap 2011

Jim Lanzone at RoadMap 2011CBS has been a bit of a black sheep over the last several years, as it was the only one of the major broadcasters not to join the Hulu consortium and make its shows available on the video site. But Thursday morning at GigaOM RoadMap, CBS Interactive president Jim Lanzone said he believed that keeping those videos on its own site was the right strategic decision.

Lanzone pointed to CBS.com’s success as the top-ranked network site for 35 months in a row as proof that keeping viewers on its properties was the right move. Not just that, but CBS’ success in digital can be measured in real dollars. Lanzone said that ad yields on digital viewership are comparable to what the network gets from its TV broadcasts.

Part of the reason online video has been complementary to its traditional revenue stream is that Lanzone believes it isn’t necessarily disruptive to the live TV audience, but mainly competing with the DVR as just one more way to view time-shifted video. For CBS.com, which maintains the ability to sell its own ads and monetize its content over a number of new platforms, that will provide incremental revenue over and above its TV ad dollars.


Photo by Pinar Ozger.

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  1. I personally hate the decision. I would love for CBS shows to be available on HULU+ – I’ve been a cord cutter for over a year now and there’s a couple CBS shows I miss (How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory). I want to watch them on my TV not on my laptop so I just haven’t seen the last couple of seasons of those shows. I can get caught up with NBC,FOX and ABC shows on HULU+ every week, on my living room plasma, and it’s great.

  2. Lanzone is spot on. CBS has scaled the S#!* out of online VOD over the past few years and still maintains ownership of brand, distribution, monetization and has direct insight into the data. All the while, CBS continues to be the #1 most watched network. At this point I don’t see how this this even controversial…..

  3. Hi,

    Horses for courses…..

    yet, he has no problem distributing his programming from within the walled gardens of those MSO’s!

    The point is that aggregating works. If you can remove the number of clicks and bookmarks to get to your content, it’s your content, and the advertising within, that will be seen.

    His strategy is fine for a successful network still a habit, but what of those kids used to going to youtube, Hulu, a video search engine, or being recommended content by some social algorithm, and what happens when the borg of Facebook is really turned on, or that power of facebook requires an ad-cut and playing within the fb domain.

    The power of networks themselves comes from aggregating producers ideas, and financial/marketing resources, filtering and curating, in a world of limited resources and avenues for new content, a world where there was a shortage of bandwidth and content, but what happens when there’s actually no shortage of either?

    The people with more content available at more places are the ones who will most likely get seen and catch on, not unlike the reason why advertisers try to have the broadest reach and impacts for their messages.

    And, Just as HBO works, self-imposed isolation/uniqueness niches can work, but CBS isn’t a HBO; While at every annoyance for the user, the networks should remember the ease of a script to auto-download any torrent……

    Yours kindly,

    Shakir Razak

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