In Depth

CBS News Widget Expands Ad Opportunities for Local Stations, Bloggers

CBS Television Stations today launched the CBS Local Ad Network, a partnership between the company’s local TV stations and local bloggers and social media Web sites in CBS-owned stations’ markets.

Under the partnership, CBS syndicates local news widgets to local blogs and social media sites. The CBS-created widgets can be embedded in a Web page and include news, weather, politics or other information from the local CBS affiliate as well as a link back to the CBS site. The widgets also include ads that CBS sells.

The purpose of the new offering is to extend the reach of CBS’ local Web content into hyper-targeted Web sites in its markets.

The widget program also creates new Web inventory for CBS stations to sell. Web sites that choose to partner with CBS receive a revenue share from the ads embedded in the widget.

CBS is selling the banner ads in the widget at about a $5 to $10 CPM, said Aaron Radin, senior VP of sales and business development for CBS Television Stations digital media group. “Most of these sites don’t have an ad sales staff, so this gives them the opportunity to sell page views at a higher rate,” he said.

CBS said the network will launch today with five of its stations in the following markets: Boston (wbztv.com), Dallas/Fort Worth (cbs11tv.com), San Francisco (cbs5.com), Denver (cbs4denver.com) and Chicago (cbs2chicago.com).

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Initial advertisers include AT&T (partnering with cbs2chicago.com in Chicago and cbs2.com/kcal9.com in Los Angeles), North Texas Honda Dealers (partnering with cbs11tv.com in Dallas) and Liberty Mutual Insurance (partnering with wbztv.com in Boston).

CBS will roll out the program in the coming weeks to the remainder of the station group.

Mr. Radin said CBS expects to generate about 20 million impressions in each market on a monthly basis within the next few months.

Jonathan Leess, president of the CBS Television Stations digital media group, said the widget syndication builds on earlier syndication efforts by the local stations group. Two years ago, CBS’ local stations struck a deal with Yahoo to syndicate content to the Web portal.