Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Not wanting to be caught off guard, the way the music industry was with Napster type upheavals, CBS seems poised to pounce on whatever content delivery systems rocket to popularity. Nina Tassler, the entertainment president of CBS said, "My husband just learned how to e-mail, and yet my son has been communicating on his cell phone for the past two years. So I don't think anybody really knows where we're headed. But it is imperative that we make our content available to audiences where they are and when they want to watch it."
CBS is teaming up with Internet powerhouse Google to make copies of the runaway hit CSI Crime Scene Investigation available to rent on Google. We knew that the computer is merging with the television; this is just one concrete example of how that will happen sooner, rather than later.
Many HDTV (High Definition Televisions) have connections that connect with your computer to be used as a large, vividly clear computer monitors.
Another idea in the works at CBS, is a 60-second drama about a husband trying to save his kidnapped wife that will air on television and the cell phone as well. Before the wide adoption of cell phones, when there were just the status symbol é─˙car phonesé─¨ was anyone dreaming of watching é─˙microdramasé─¨ on their phones? Does anyone remember the bulky é─˙Bag Phoneé─¨?
While CBS has been on a frenzied path of making their programming available in virtually everyway imaginable, Fox on the other hand, is just sitting back and taking it all in, for now. Their only movement in this direction is to make available episodes of the wildly popular series é─˙24é─¨ and é─˙Prison Breaké─¨ available to DirecTV subscribers at a cost of ninety-nine cents per episode. So far, they remain skeptical of rolling out programs in all of these various modes. Fox is owned by parent company News Corp., as is DirecTV.
If consumers can watch programs when and where they want, there is some fear in the industries that the old advertiser-network model could crumble. CBS is banking on the idea that these new delivery methods will entice more people to watch their shows, not supplant the regular way of getting entertainment. They think they will ultimately retain more viewers by casting their net wider.
There is evidence CBS is on the right track. After streaming two of their situation comedies on Yahoo, they noticed a large spike in number of viewers in the much sought after 18-49-viewership category. There are many new ideas out there, and it is too early to tell which strategies will pay off. We will keep our eyes on this exciting new trend in popular entertainment.