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CBS Gets Affiliates on OTT Video Bandwagon

9 May, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A key to online TV success is getting local broadcast affiliates – heretofore wary of over-the-top video’s impact on linear TV – on the bandwagon.

CBS May 9 announced it struck a deal with the CBS Affiliate Board to expand the network’s presence on digital services, including CBS All Access, Hulu Live With TV and YouTube TV, among others.

Key to the agreement is giving local broadcasters part of the revenue from online TV subscriptions and advertising.

In addition to CBS All Access, the deal establishes a framework for distribution of local signals via online TV and future OTT video services with local and national content. CBS was the first broadcast network to partner with its affiliates on PlayStation Vue in 2015.

CBS said it is the only network to offer affiliates a revenue-generating opportunity to reach viewers in their markets with local and national content, at home or on the go through All Access.

Viewers in 90% of the country can receive their local CBS affiliate through All Access, and that percentage is expected to grow under the new pact.

"Access to these new and emerging digital distribution platforms gives all CBS affiliates the opportunity to provide viewers with more accessibility to their favorite local programs,” Chris Cornelius, chairman of the affiliates board, said in a statement.

CBS’s agreement underscores growing acceptance of OTT video and online TV by network affiliates. NBC Universal in April announced a deal with the board representing affiliate TV stations about digital distribution. The pact is similar to what Disney/ABC Television Group rolled out last year with its affiliates.

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