"We've seen a 60% increase in viewership since last year, and we're looking for ways to continue that incredible growth," said Joe Gillespie, executive vice president of CNET.
CNET remains by far the most-trafficked tech news property on the Web. The site was drawing roughly 61.5 million unique monthly visitors as of December, according to comScore, while its closest rival, NetShelter, was recording about 26 million. CNET's numbers were up 22% year-over-year*, while NetShelter's nearly doubled.
The tech publisher first moved into traditional media in mid 2006 with deals to supply content to three video-on-demand TV networks. Through partnerships with Cox Communications, TiVo Inc., and TVN Entertainment, CNET began offering paid TV subscribers a range of ad-supported content, including gadget reviews, news reports, trend stories and user generated video.
Since 2006, CNET TV has also existed as a stand-alone Web site, where consumers can draw from various topic channels to program their viewing experiences. Interactive tools let users engage with the site's editorial staff, and share their customized playlists with friends.
The re-launched service includes a number of new features--chief among them a new closed-captioning option. Through partnerships with Automatic Sync Technologies and Adobe Systems, the captioning system is an attempt by CNET to reach an estimated 30 million deaf and hard-of-hearing U.S. consumers.
Not only that, but the captioning makes it far easier for CNET to monetize its video content, Gillespie said.
"It turns into SEO honey," Gillespie said of the meta data, which greatly improves the search engine optimization process.
Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, described CNET's revamped service as "emblematic of the next phase of online video," and expects other top publishers to follow CNET's lead.
In addition to closed captioning, CNET TV has unveiled a more user-friendly design, with video content from premiere partners such as Geek Entertainment TV and Revision 3, along with more original shows featuring CNET personalities and new additions like Natali Del Conte, former host of PodShow's TeXtra, and Kara Tsuboi.
*This amends what was originally published.