Sunday, January 01, 2006

Major TV networks putting more shows online

from Linknet Business News

2005 was the year that major TV networks started to seriously dabble in online TV programming.

In October, ABC began to sell downloads of complete, ad-free episodes of top shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives,". Some think this signals the advent of the long-predicted convergence of TV and online.

Since October, several other networks have made shows available through a joint agreement with iTunes. These include Disney, NBC Universal, Sci Fi Channel, and USA Network.

Now CBS is using online distribution to promote two popular comedies "Two and a Half Men" and "How I Met Your Mother." The network will make two complete episodes of each of the Monday night sitcoms available for one week in a deal with Yahoo! The promotion is called the "CBS Comedy Bowl."

Both half-hour shows, were broadcast earlier in the season, and will be streamed ad-free in Yahoo!'s video player. The video player is available from Yahoo! TV. Yahoo TV features TV listings and show previews and is gradually adding new video content.

"We want to be where the viewers are, and this exclusive partnership with Yahoo! gives us the chance to target an expanded online audience for 'Two and a Half Men' and 'How I Met Your Mother' at a time of the year when many potential viewers are home on vacation and surfing the Internet," Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, said in a statement.

Previous CBS initiatives included a September effort with Google to stream its "Everybody Hates Chris" premiere. Then in October, CBS made audio podcasts of select shows available on iTunes. These include "Survivor Live", "60 Minutes," "Guiding Light," and "NFL Hot Topic."

Earlier in 2005, AOL launched In2TV, a more aggressive broadband video network that will offer episodes of more than 30 classic TV series. Offerings will be available in January and will carry 15 and 30 second video ads. Promotion of this service was one of the major reasons behind the renewed Google/AOL partnership.

Online Video and Marketing.

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