CBS Powers Up Web Play

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The Eye became the latest big-media company to focus sharply on the Web: CBS announced content-licensing deals with 10 online partners to make its broadcast and cable programming available free-of-charge to viewers on the Internet.

The move comes three weeks after NBC Universal and News Corp. announced a joint venture in the same vein. And, as was also the case with that JV, Google and its YouTube video-sharing site were noticeably absent from CBS’ laundry list of online partners.

The CBS Interactive Audience Network will initially distribute TV shows through AOL, MSN, CNET Networks, Comcast, Joost, Bebo, Brightcove, Netvibes, Sling Media and Veoh.

CBS will sell advertising through its own marketplace and will share ad revenue with its partners.

Comcast -- the only cable operator that will be part of the initial launch -- will make CBS programming available on Comcast.net and the forthcoming Fancast, an entertainment site scheduled to launch this summer.

"Today marks an important step in our strategy to distribute content broadly across the online interactive landscape on an open, nonexclusive basis," CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said in a prepared statement.

All content will be available to Internet users in the United States, but only certain clips and full-length sports programming will be distributed worldwide. CBS shows to be distributed through the partnerships will be available “within a specified viewing time frame,” the broadcaster said.

TV programming available through CBS Interactive Audience Network is to include CSI, Late Show with David Letterman, Survivor, Showtime Championship Boxing, CSTV Game of the Week and CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, as well as programming from CBS’ archive.

Also Thursday, CBS announced that Akamai Technologies will serve as the content-delivery network for the Internet-syndication network.

CBS previously entered into content-distribution arrangements with Yahoo, Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft's Xbox, Amazon.com, TiVo and others.

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