Blog Post

React: CBS News Lays Out Broadband Plans

While I write up interviews with CBS News President Andrew Heyward and CBS Digital President Larry Kramer, here’s a smattering of what’s being said about their announcement today. They wanted to make a splash and they did; now they just have to follow through.

CBS News: Here’s a webcast of the press conference. Now, how about a podcast?

NYT: “CBS has decided to treat its Web site much the way other networks treat their cable networks. … CBS’s contracts with its affiliated TV stations prohibit the network from relaying most of its broadcast programs over the Web. To get around that, Bob Schieffer, the anchor of ‘CBS Evening News,’ will be the host of a somewhat shorter version for the Web. But the main point of the new service will be to let viewers assemble their own Internet newscasts by selecting from dozens of reports at any given time.”

Reuters: “… the news operation, which once revolutionized broadcast news with Edward R. Murrow and later with the “60 Minutes” program, is betting the future of journalism is online.” Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Tom Wolzien: “This has the potential to revolutionize news on the Internet they way CNN did for television.” (Reuters doesn’t mention that Wolzien is also a former journalist and cable exec who helped found CNBC.)

AP/BW: “CBS News is aggressively expanding its Internet capabilities to offer a 24-hour news network with a ‘video jukebox’ that allows consumers to construct their own online newscasts. … CBS has lagged behind ABC, the other major broadcast network that does not have an affiliated cable news network- in moving onto the Web. CBS claimed it will offer a more viewer-controlled experience than ABC, which has more elements of a traditional television newscast put on the Web.”
MarketWatch: Bill Carroll, director of programming, Katz Television Group: “The Internet seems to be one of the places where young people are. And if you can establish brand loyalty, that’s one of the places you may be able to do that. … They obviously won’t have the arena to themselves, but they certainly will be, if not leading the charge, toward the front of the charge.” Tim Brooks, co-author of the indispensable “The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present” and director of research at Lifetime, calls it “probably the next best thing” to having a cable network. He also sees it as a way for CBS News to differentiate.

Hollywood Reporter: “The broadband service will put CBS News onto the map digitally, transforming itself from a mostly traditional radio and TV news division into a video-on-demand news service.”

More as warranted.