The Internet has suddenly been "discovered" as the next money-making platform for broadcasters. More and more are making the move in an effort to attract viewers on their PCs.
In a first for a television network, CBS announced last week that beginning Sept. 5, it would simulcast its complete evening news program over the Internet.
The timing of the nightly simulcast is aligned with the debut of Katie Couric as the new anchor of the CBS newscast.
Addressing criticism that a daily simulcast would draw audiences from broadcast stations, CBS News president Sean McManus argued that the online newscast would reach a different audience. “It makes sense if you have access to a television, why would you want to watch it on computer?” McManus told the Associated Press.
While CBS is the first network to deliver a daily news simulcast, ABC already streams a special version of its World News in the afternoon. NBC streams its Nightly News after 10:30 p.m. ET, past its television broadcast.
Online viewers will be required to register in order to watch the CBS simulcast. The network hopes this will prevent viewers in later times zones from watching the show before its local telecast.
CBS will sell advertising for the online version separately from the broadcast feed. The network also said that viewers who preferred accessing individual stories rather than watching a full newscast would still be able to pick and choose specific news segments from its Web site.
Meanwhile, mimicking what ABC did months ago, although with a local flavor, Fox Entertainment Group will now offer its prime-time programming on the Web sites of nine of its 24 O&O's to consumers for free.
New episodes of “Prison Break” and “Bones” will be available the day after they air on broadcast TV. The stations' Web sites will also offer past episodes from each of those series' first seasons, as well episodes from other shows.
Toyota was named as the exclusive ad sponsor for select episodes from Fox's 20th Century Fox Studios.
The shows are available via the new "Fox on Demand" section of the rebranded station sites of WNYW, New York; KTTV, Los Angeles; WFXT, Boston; KDFW, Dallas; WTTG, Washington, D.C.; WTVT, Tampa Bay, FL; WOFL, Orlando, FL;, WBRC, Birmingham, NC; and WGHP, Greensboro, NC. Affiliated stations are looking to get on board as well.
Eventually, Fox will deploy a streaming video player, developed by Fox Interactive Media's Stations Group, for all of its 24 O&O stations’ Web sites. The player allows viewers to watch DVD-quality video on their computers at full screen or as a small window.