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CBS Aims to Include Viewers in Making News

Apr 30, 2007  •  Post A Comment

CBS Television Stations plans to launch a user-generated initiative across its owned stations in the early fall to let consumers contribute news, videos and photos for possible inclusion in the stations’ online or on-air news reports.

The group’s Jonathan Leess, president and general manager of CBS Television Stations Digital Media Group, made the announcement in Las Vegas this morning at a Microsoft event.

CBS is building these capabilities using Microsoft’s new Silverlight video format, Microsoft’s alternative to Flash for embedding video in Web pages.

TV networks and stations have increasingly been seeking ways to incorporate social media tools and community-created content on the Web, in order to accommodate the growing desire of viewers to have a voice.

The CBS project will let users view, upload, share, rate, comment and sort through video, image, audio and text submissions.

The social media and user-generated tools are the next component of what CBS has dubbed its “Always On” effort, an initiative to turn the Web sites of its local stations into around-the-clock news hubs with regular video reports, Webcasts and news stories.

The user-generated submissions will be integrated with the stations’ existing tools so they can be managed alongside the professional content.

“This gives the news directors and the TV stations the options and the process of getting breaking news on air, and if it’s user-generated, it has to go through the same process,” Mr. Leess said. “Our target is to build an environment where the online community can share, upload and rate content and it can be integrated by our broadcasters at any point in time.”

Microsoft is starting to roll out Silverlight across the Web this week.

(Editor: Horowitz)