More likely freaked out by the success of the iTunes video store and YouTube, CBS is launching “innertube“.
Hoping you’ll float down the entertainment river with them. Of course it just crashed Firefox on my Mac (who really needs the Mac market anyway, right). And doesn’t seem to want to run very well on a hot XP box I’m working on right now. Wait… after a couple of refreshes, I’m (briefly) watching a Pearl Jam mini-concert from Late Night with Letterman. Compression is a little ugly but the sound is good and it is viewable.
Beyond Survivor is also available. Commercial playback at the top is choppy and on a high-speed connection, the content is loading slowly and playing back spastically. Cool, now it’s stuck in a six frame loop. I’m bailing.
I’d prefer an IPTV experience where I can download and watch this stuff on my TV. Let it download in the background so I’m not dealing with network issues. But CBS believes this is the route to go.
As an extension of CBS.com, the new section, “innertube,” is home to original short-form programs aimed at younger audiences, as well as extensions of CBS shows like “Survivor.” In time, it will also house entire prime-time episodes after they have aired on TV–and, in all likelihood, CBS classics like “I Love Lucy”–currently available on a pay-per-download basis on Google Video.
“CBS is literally bursting with entertainment content,” boasted Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, adding that viewers “can expect archive classics at some point.”
Innertube will initially stream three shows daily, a new program being posted each day, Monday through Friday. Programming will then be archived for on-demand viewing.
Kevin Maney comments in USA Today:
Funny thing is, CBS didn’t give the URL for Innertube (in their press release). It is actually here. But first I tried the obvious: www.innertube.com — which turns out to be the Web site for Countrywide Tire & Rubber of Plymouth, Minn. What, they wouldn’t sell their URL??
Which would seem to further confirm CBS’ rush to web with their “new” offering.
Terry Heaton sees it as a good thing, but wonders about CBS affiliates and asks a rather pertinent question about networks:
It’s a smart move by CBS, but once again, what about the affiliates? MTV and Comedy Central are CABLE channels and not bound by affiliate arrangements, but not so with the tiffany network (what the heck is a network anymore anyway?).
What is a network, indeed – it certainly “ain’t what it used to be, Lucy.” And local market TV will be hurt if it remains addicted to network programming (that will end up being available everywhere else – in more viewer friendly formats). Terry, again, with the last word:
We are in the midst of an unstoppable business disruption for local television, and the only way to find downstream profitability is to embrace the disruption itself. There IS a future, and it’s looking more and more like it may not involve a network affiliation.
Denial isn’t (just) a river in Egypt.