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CBS’s Digital Dance

July 17, 2006 2:35 PM

At CBS’s digital media presentation at the network’s TCA session Sunday afternoon, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group President Nancy Tellem said there has been major headway between the network, unions, affiliates and studios when it comes to ironing out the details of offering content on digital platforms like the Internet or via devices like iPods. “We’re dealing with it on a daily basis,” Tellem said, noting that all the interested parties are “saying it is important to be on these platforms.”

While there are still many differences in opinion, “things are constantly evolving—attitudes can change,” Tellem said.    

“I feel very optimistic over the next few months we are going to come to some understanding,” she added.

As part of the new season, CBS is developing a concurrent storyline for the debuting drama “Jericho” that will exist online.

CBS is not stopping with “Jericho” however.

“We’re working on similar storylines with frankly every single one of our programs,” Tellem said, explaining that CBS’s strategy is to develop content for platforms like the Web that will encourage people to tune in to the traditional on-air series.

“The focus is really to invest the viewer even further.”

Another critic asked CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer if during this past upfront advertiser buying season there was a shift in ad dollars from TV to digital platforms.

“We saw a huge amount of interest,” Kramer said, noting that ad agencies were asking CBS for more information about their digital offerings.

“We closed some deals,” he said, but it was “not exactly the same sale process” since the Internet world does not have an ad upfront.

 But CBS still “had a great year,” Kramer noted, with revenues up for all digital platforms.

While there was much debate as recently as a year ago about whether or not digital platforms would cannibalize television viewing, the evidence shows they actually increase people’s interest in TV.

“It’s more additive,” Kramer said.

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