CBS, Comcast Rework VOD Deal

Jumping on the trend of free, ad-supported digital programming, CBS has reworked its 10-month-old video-on-demand deal with Comcast. Now, Comcast will offer eight CBS prime-time shows gratis.

Under the original CBS-Comcast deal--made in January--CBS shows would be sold for 99 cents with limited advertising on Comcast's VOD service, On Demand. The original shows were only shown on Comcast systems in markets where CBS owned TV stations.

At the time the deal was struck, CBS didn't have a long-term digital revenue-sharing deal in place with its TV stations. Recently, CBS created such a deal; stations get anywhere from 12.5 percent to 25 percent of the ad revenues per their markets, according to executives. Stations get a greater percentage if the show runs on any digital platforms before it airs on a TV station. Fox stations have a similar deal.

The eight CBS shows in the deal are: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "CSI:Miami," "CSI:NY," "Survivor," "NCIS," "Numb3rs," "Jericho" and "Big Brother." The deal will also extend to all Comcast markets. All shows will be available for four weeks after their initial CBS airing.



Les Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., said in a press release that given the tremendous growth of viewers for free, ad-supported digital programming, the two companies decided to rework the deal.

Nearly 95 percent of the 7,500 programs on Comcast's On Demand service are available at no charge to cable subscribers. This deal was a precursor to a special deal that CBS and Comcast made with General Motors over the summer. In it, GM ran ads on some CBS shows, such as "Survivor." The shows were free to Comcast subscribers.

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