Among the new partners on board to add increased functionality to the network are online video networks Automatic, Clearspring, Dave Networks, Goowy Media, Meebo, MeeVee, MuseStorm, Ning, RockYou, Slide, VideoEgg, Voxant and vSocial. CBS announced last month the participation of its initial broadband syndication partners AOL, Microsoft, CNET Networks, Comcast, Joost, Bebo, Brightcove, Netvibes, Sling Media and Veoh. CBS content is also available for sale on iTunes, Amazon and Yahoo, among others.
Direct to the user
"Today, we are taking the CBS Audience Network directly to the user," Quincy Smith, president, CBS Interactive, said in a statement. "In launching the CBS Audience Network, we solidified our position as the most widely distributed professional content provider on the Web thanks to our great video distribution partners. We now want to empower our audience to be creative and deepen their experience with our content by allowing them to share and embed CBS-provided clips to their blogs, wikis, widgets, community sites and whatever else gets thrown our way. We are delighted to have so many quality partners -- established and start-ups -- helping to bring CBS content to the online community."
The syndication deal is designed to make more short-form CBS content available through embedded viral videos, with "CSI," "Jericho," NCIS" and "Numb3rs" among the participating shows.
Later this summer, CBS Interactive will launch another high-profile broadband partnership with Joost, which Mr. Smith addressed during the network's upfront presentation site.
"We want to convert those anonymous eyeballs into an audience," he said, later joking that "we're making rocket ships out of Sudoku puzzles over here." Though an ad model was not included in today's CBS Interactive announcement, Mr. Smith made it clear last week he was open to anything. "We're willing to work with whatever format you want to use -- whether it's pre-rolls, California roll or spicy tuna roll."
NBC and Fox are expected to be the next broadcast nets to enter the syndication ring when they launch their much-anticipated joint online video venture later this summer.
Making content relevant to online
In addition to Mr. Smith, a Netscape vet, CBS has another recent new-media hire in Patrick Keane, who came to the company in March from Google as chief marketing officer of CBS Interactive. He told Ad Age the project's goal is to make CBS content more relevant to the way consumers use online media.
"Instead of trying to ferret users to one distinct location or destination, we were extremely forward thinking about distributing content across the web and user-engagement," he said.
CBS Interactive has been in an acquisitive mood lately with the project, adding daily web show WallStrip to the mix earlier in the week. Mr. Keane said acquisitions will continue where they make sense, but through distribution partnerships with the likes of AOL and Microsoft, they're nearing their goals of reaching 90% of the online audience. "We can now offer advertisers the tonnage and scale they expect."