CBS to introduce new online video player with promising social features

cbs logoCBS Interactive is launching a new online video player this week, with more features to be added throughout the summer. It’s one we may actually end up cheering about.

Our normal reaction to news that a traditional media company is releasing a new online video player might go something like this: Big deal. They’ll just cripple it so we spend time watching shows on their network.

No so fast buckeroo.

AdAge wrote today that the CBS player will use a content and advertising engine powered by technology acquired in the purchase of, the popular streaming music site. The new player will include an HD viewing experience that does not require a separate download, sharing features, and social viewing rooms that let people watch and discuss content together.

CBS was unfortunately vague in its press release today, noting that the new player will present users with:

  • “innovative options to interact with content and other users” [last100: what innovative options specifically?]
  • “new navigation and search features to make browsing and watching videos more user-friendly” [what new navigation and search features specifically? And isn’t ‘user-friendly’ over-used and meaningless today?]
  • and social features that will include embeddable video clips, allowing people to put clips on blogs and social networks

As AdAge notes, with its new online video player CBS Interactive is giving advertisers what they want: better reporting and targeting data. The question is: Will people find the new player intriguing enough that they will sign up and use it themselves and with friends and family, who also must register and adopt?

“If CBS can build in enough valuable, community-oriented features to persuade people to register to use them, it will be able to use that data to give advertisers more immediate, granular ways to measure viewers,” AdAge notes.

The community-oriented features of worked well for music, and CBS is betting it will again for video content. recommends music to people by comparing profiles and listening preferences to those of others. The same kind of thinking can be applied to video.

We’ll have to wait until this summer to see the new CBS online video player in full action, but even now it’s encouraging to see a traditional media company taking steps (albeit slowly) into the new media world.

“It’s fun to watch the scales fall from the eyes of the big networks as they begin to see the light that is the power of online video,” Chris Albrecht of NewTeeVee wrote today.


last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “CBS to introduce new online video player with promising social features”

  1. I think this is a sliverlight player, in which case it’s goooood!

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