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CBS Uses Microsoft Silverlight For Online User-Generated Content Initiative

CBS Television Stations, a division of CBS Corporation, announced the development of an innovative community-generated content initiative for its network of local websites that uses the new Microsoft Silverlight technology, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for media experiences and applications on the Web.

The new initiative, which is being displayed in proof-of-concept form at the MIX07 conference in Las Vegas this week, helps bridge the gap between user-generated digital media and traditional TV broadcast while capturing the hearts, minds and local stories of the CBS stations' audiences across the country.

"Central to our 'Always On' strategy has been the desire to create an interactive environment where our audiences can participate in the local broadcast process," said Jonathan Leess, president and general manager of CBS Television Stations Digital Media Group. "This project, using Microsoft Silverlight technology, allows us to empower the massive long tail of untapped local media content which is waiting to converge with the broadband and broadcast mediums."

The new local initiative will allow users of the CBS-owned stations' sites to view, upload, share, rate, comment, sort and search video, images, audio and text submissions. A key component of the application is its full integration into the existing content publishing workflow of the CBS Television Stations' digital media groups. It allows the community-generated content to be managed alongside the station's professional content in a single workflow.

"We are excited about working with an industry leader such as CBS Television Stations," said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the developer division at Microsoft Corporation. "CBS has demonstrated a commitment to unique digital media experiences and a drive to develop platforms that incorporate the voice of the community, while also delivering the highest quality experiences."

"Broadcasting is no longer a one-way directional medium," Leess said. "Audiences and advertisers are looking for compelling local content that speaks to them, to their families, to their neighbors. This project allows us to help foster that connection."

The CBS project will be built on the recently announced Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in for Windows and Mac-based Web browsers and Microsoft Expression Media Encoder, a new tool for client and server-based encoding and publishing of Silverlight-based content. Silverlight integrates with existing Web technologies and assets to provide higher-quality experiences with lower costs for media delivery. Delivered to end users through a seamless, fast installation, Silverlight also offers consistent experiences to both Macintosh and Windows users on a variety of browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

CBS Television Stations is working with Microsoft to build the Silverlight-powered beta version of its community-generated content initiative, which is expected to launch in select markets later this year.