This post was originally published on Read/WriteWeb on May 14th, 2007.
Last May CBS launched Innertube, an online video site that would allow the network’s viewers to watch popular television shows like “CSI” and “Survivor” online for free, as well as bonus content and original mini shows. The site, which was ad supported and used RealPlayer, was ill-conceived from the start since it was put to head-to-head with arguably more attractive offers from CBS (99-cent commercial free downloads of Survivor, and free, sans-commercials on-demand content for Comcast cable subscribers). Eventually CBS also offered content for download on iTunes and clips via YouTube, leaving Innertube in the dust.
But now, CBS has decided that forcing users to come to them just doesn’t work, reports the Wall Street Journal. Beginning this month CBS will start to distribute their popular content over ten different online destinations, including AOL and Joost [Ed. see our Joost review], as part of a new initiative called the CBS Interactive Audience Network. The company is also reportedly working on deals with web 2.0 sites like Facebook, Last.fm — which recently announced it was adding video, and Slide to distribute their video content over social networks.
Online gossip blog, Jossip reported yesterday that CBS will acquire Wall Street humor blog WallStrip for a sum of $5 million. While that seems like a lot of money, part of the deal, according to Jossip, is that WallStrip host Lindsay Campbell will become the face of CBS’ web video initiative, not unlike what Amanda Congdon, of Rocketboom fame, does for ABC. Fred Wilson, who has invested in WallStrip, won’t comment on the legitimacy of the Jossip report. (And it might be important to note that it looks like WallStrip already has a distribution deal with ABC.)
According to the WSJ article CBS lags far behind the other four American television networks in terms of online video audience, and adding a well-known and well-liked video blog fontman (or in this case, woman) certainly couldn’t hurt. Though, $5 million does seem like a lot just to hire the services of a moderately popular blogger (WallStrip has 4474 Feedburner subscribers today).