WEB PIONEER: CBS NETS ADS, VIEWERS

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At a time when fewer and fewer eyeballs are focused on CBS TV shows, the network's "Eye On The Net" World Wide Web site has become one of its brighter spots.

The site kicked off in March with CBS' coverage of March Madness, including an extensive content area devoted to the NCAA Final Four men's basketball competition that was sponsored by Doritos.

Since then, the first TV network on the Internet has used the Web for interactive marketing, audience promotion and to experiment with new content.

"We will continue to have proprietary content on the commercial services, but most of our emphasis will be on the Web, because it is by far the most accessible and far-reaching of the online media," said George Schweitzer, exec VP-marketing and communications and CBS' leading cybernaut.

Mr. Schweitzer said CBS has already seen a return on its bottom line by offering the Web as a value-added inducement for advertisers.

In fact, 24 CBS network advertisers negotiated 1995-96 upfront prime-time season deals that included promotions on the Web.

The Web is also an important tool for reaching certain key audiences, particularly younger, upscale and light TV users.

Traffic has grown since launch to 1.7 million hits per week from 1.2 million at the outset; CBS is working with Internet Profiles Corp. to track visits more precisely.

"These are people who are very hard to reach through traditional media," said Mr. Schweitzer. "The Internet has become a way for us to communicate with them. It has become a way for us to make the connection from the TV to the PC and back."

Not all has gone perfectly: An e-mail promotion for the show "Dweebs" backfired, resulting in a chain of misfired messages and angry users. Some also have criticized CBS for focusing too heavily on the Web as a promotion vehicle

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