CBS Seeks Online Distribution Deals

The CBS television network is in discussions with several large portals--including Google and Yahoo!--regarding video search and news and entertainment distribution, a person close to the deals confirmed to OnlineMediaDaily Tuesday. CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves told Reuters on Tuesday that CBS and Google in particular are presently discussing "a whole slew of things, including video-on-demand, including video search."

Google did not respond to press inquiries regarding talks with CBS, and a Yahoo! spokesman declined to comment.

In its continuing effort to establish a significant online presence, CBS is opting to bond with Web portals and other content distributors, rather than isolate itself from them. In late September, Viacom's UPN television network chose to distribute its comedy series "Everybody Hates Chris" through Google.

Earlier this month, CBS Digital reached an agreement with AOL News to add CBS's video and text news to AOL's content mix.

Also, CBS Digital President Larry Kramer recently told OnlineMediaDaily that he has had talks with Apple about distributing CBS shows on iTunes. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the video iPod in early October, Apple had already struck a distribution deal with rival network ABC. Consumers can now buy episodes of five of ABC's premiere shows, including "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives," through iTunes--for $1.99 each.

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Subscription and ad-supported models, as well as selling content piecemeal via iTunes, are all options being considered by CBS Digital. Kramer said a partnership with Apple is a strong possibility as long as the "economic proposal is fair enough."

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