CBS Pumps Up Innertube

Latest Net to Launch Ad-Supported Online Channel

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- CBS is the latest broadcast network to shore up a broadband beachhead as it launches its new Innertube service today.
CBS' new Innertube will function much like an online TV network with a mix of original and repurposed content.
CBS' new Innertube will function much like an online TV network with a mix of original and repurposed content.

The Web site will air shows commissioned specifically for the Internet as well as spinoffs based on popular CBS series. Show genres include reality, music performances, entertainment magazines and talk shows.

'Alternative programming'
Innertube will also eventually stream episodes of existing CBS shows after they've aired on the main network. The network described the service as "an alternative programming option for series of the network that didn't reach a mass audience, but have a loyal, passionate following that lends itself to Internet appeal."

"With this broadband channel, we've essentially bypassed cable and created a general-entertainment outlet utilizing existing creative and content resources," Leslie Moonves, president-CEO CBS Corp., said in a statement.

Under Larry Kramer, president-CBS Digital Media, the network re-launched CBSNews.com in July 2005. The plan to do the same for its entertainment assets was first talked about a year ago.

Fresh programming
Some of the programming being debuted on the site: "Showtime Shorts," quirky comedic independent short films that aired on CBS' owned pay-TV company, Showtime; "Beyond Survivor," which takes a behind-the-scenes look at the hit reality show; and Pearl Jam's appearance on "Live on Letterman." Advertisers already on board include outdoor-products retailer Brinkmann Corp., Cadbury Schweppes, Chili's, Pier 1 Imports and Verizon SuperPages.com. It's unclear whether the prime-time shows, once they begin streaming on Innertube, will include those advertisers who have bought a show in prime time, or if other advertisers will be able to buy those shows just online.

Innertube is available via CBS.com, which according to Nielsen Net Ratings, attracted an average of 4.3 million unique users for the first quarter of the year.

The announcement marks the latest broadcast-network venture in cyberspace. Last week, NBC said it would stream the first hour of "The Today Show" online, while ABC has set up an ad-supported test site to stream its most popular shows, including "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives." Earlier this week, Fox was reported to be planning to stream "American Idol" contestants' performances on the show's Web sites, Idolonfox.com and Americanidol.com.
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