CBS television content will be available through 400 sites on the Internet by the fall, according to executives from the broadcast network's interactive division.
"CBS is al about open, nonexclusive partnerships," CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith said. "Just CBS.com is not the answer" to reaching viewers, he added, so the network is devoted to going out where the viewers are, not forcing them to CBS.com.
Those have already resulted in a huge lift in unique viewership to CBS.com -- from 21 million unique users per month in May to the current 134 million -- from people linking in from partners.
Each partner is displaying the content in a way that best suits its demographic, CBS executives said. For instance, Comcast's users are more affluent and highly educated than the norm for Web users, so that site will pick clips that speak to that audience.
The network bought all possible keywords, such as series' stars’ names, to maximize searches for their fall shows on the various sites, said Patrick Keane, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of CBS Interactive.
CBS also made arrangements with sites like YouRock.com, where online posters go to pick up applications and widgets like glitter writing. At such sites, pollsters will be able to pick up applications such as show logos and other content to place on MySpace pages, for instance. People are doing this anyway, lifting grainy clips from YouTube and other destinations, executives said.
The joint efforts are so new, the network has not been able to document a lift in TV ratings due to Internet promotional efforts, but executives are working on that, they said.
Smith added that the network may reach out to fan-site producers to program CBS' Web-site content. He cited a fan clip he admired: a digest of every season of The Sopranos in seven minutes, now available on YouTube. That clip might be too long, violating guild contracts and causing rights issues, but the network might take such an example and create a version running two minutes, he said.
CBS can't do the same promotional content online that it does on television. "We have to do something cool," he added.