CBS Eyes On-Demand NCAA Year Round

Mar 8, 2009  •  Post A Comment

CBS, which signed up 20 affiliates for the NCAA’s March Madness video-on-demand service, is hoping to create a year-round VOD product featuring college sports video.
NCAA VOD: The Best of March Madness, created by CBS Sports and CBS College Sports Network, has been picked up by cable and satellite distributors including Comcast, DirecTV, Verizon, Insight and Mediacom. The service will offer highlights from recently played games as well as “NCAA March Madness Memories,” which features about 35 of the greatest moments from the tournament.
Bob Rose, executive VP for distribution at CBS College Sports, said that last year the 16 features available on VOD drew 75% of the usage, while the 63 sets of game highlights drew the remainder.
“The memories are the driver,” Mr. Rose said. “People want to relive the memories.”
The video clips are being presented commercial free, with only a 10-second promotion for CBS College Sports at the end.
Mr. Rose said the package was attractive to cable operators who are promoting both VOD and high-definition programming. The VOD service can also be customized for local systems.
He said CBS and the NCAA are getting a fee for the product. In some cases it’s a flat fee, while in others it is based on the number of users, he said.
Mr. Rose said CBS is working on a similar NCAA VOD service featuring an array of sports that would program 12 months a year. The service would draw from NCAA archives, which contain 20,000 hours of footage.
“We think we can tap into the library and create a living, breathing VOD product,” he said.
NCAA VOD: The Best of March Madness will receive a heavy promotional push from both CBS and its distribution partners.
CBS, CBS College Sports and CBS-owned Showtime will promote the service on the air. There will also be cross-platform marketing, with banners and other forms of online promotion. And the network has arrangements with a dozen colleges to promote it on their Web sites and on campus.
CBS is paying $6 billion over 11 years for rights to the NCAA basketball tournament.

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