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CBS Could Launch Broadband Channel Tomorrow

May 3, 2006  •  Post A Comment

CBS is expected to announce plans to launch a new broadband channel as early as tomorrow, sources familiar with the plans told TelevisionWeek.

The new channel will be advertiser-supported and free to the viewer.

Some of the content on the site will be original and unrelated to CBS’s network television content. It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether the content would include both comedies and dramas. The content is also expected to encompass various lengths, not necessarily the hour and half-hour lengths necessary for a linear television schedule. Much of the programming will likely be the shorter, two- to three-minute clips popular with Web viewers.

CBS has developed some of the content internally but may also have turned to other producers, including those primarily focused on Web production, sources said. Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Paramount Network Entertainment Group, has been involved in the development of the programming, working with Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media.

CBS has already put some of its shows on CBS.com, including “Survivor.” It also puts clips from shows including “Late Show With David Letterman” and clips from upcoming shows.

ABC last month announced that it was making some of its shows, including “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” available for free on ABC.com with advertising support as a test of the Internet as a distribution platform. Ad buyers are looking at digital media as both a supplement and an alternative to traditional television advertising. NBC has also said that providing digital extensions of its television programming will be a cornerstone of its upfront pitch to advertisers.

“We’re definitely seeing a trend,” said Tracey Scheppach, VP and video innovations director for Starcom USA. “The majority of programmers are providing nonlinear content.”