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CBS Offers Free Web TV With Ads

4 May, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CBS Corp. May 4 announced the launch of “innertube,” an advertising-supported free Internet channel showcasing original and catalog content.

Initial “innertube” programming — available at CBS.com — will stream three shows daily and will include reality, musical, entertainment-magazine style, talk format, sketch-comedy and animation. One new program will be posted on the channel daily, five days a week. Programming will be archived, as well.

The site's intent is to mirror In2TV network, the AOL and parent Time Warner effort aimed at making available on the Internet nearly 5,000 episodes from about 100 archived Warner TV shows.

Fox Entertainment and ABC Television have launched separate forays aimed at repurposing new and old content across multiple distribution channels.

CBS also is reportedly in discussions to repurpose content to Google.com.

“Innertube” will offer streams of episodes from CBS prime-time TV programming, including the critically acclaimed series “Love Monkey.”

Supplementary content will come from the network's library of 2,600 titles and 100,000 hours of programming culled from CBS Entertainment, King World, CBS Paramount Network Television, CBS Paramount Domestic Television and Showtime.

“With this broadband channel, we've essentially bypassed cable and created a general entertainment outlet utilizing existing creative and content resources,” said Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp.

Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, said CBS offered college basketball's March Madness on pay-per-view two years ago and got about 25,000 people to buy it.

“This year, we did it ad-supported for free, and we had 5 million [user] visits,” Kramer said.

Initial “innertube” offerings include “Greek to Chic,” a college-based makeover reality series, and “BBQ Bill,” a scripted sketch-comedy series starring Rick Najera (“In Living Color,” “Mad TV”).

Other content includes “Beyond Survivor,” a behind-the-scenes look at how “Survivor” is produced, and “Inturn,” in which a group of young hopefuls live together while going through “soap opera boot camp” with the ultimate goal of being cast on the CBS daytime soap “As the World Turns.”

“The Green Room” is an entertainment-magazine show that takes a somewhat irreverent look at CBS programming.

Also due are “Hook Me Up,” a unique twist on the online-dating world; “Showtime Shorts,” a selection of quirky and comedic independent short films that aired on Showtime's pay cable service; and repurposed episodes of “Fire Me … Please,” a hidden-camera reality series that aired on CBS.

“The Best of House Calls” features highlights from the CBS.com talk show about “Big Brother,” which allows viewers to get re-acquainted with their favorite villains and sweethearts before this summer's “Big Brother: All Stars” (working title) on CBS.

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