Taking what could be called the “if-you-can’t-beat-’em, join-’em” approach, CBS is abandoning its original strategy to create a huge portal for its video content. Instead, it now plans to syndicate CBS shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation through up to ten different Web sites, including Joost, YouTube, and AOL.
This is in start contrast to the other major TV networks, which are all in the process of building their own portals to compete with video sites like YouTube. But CBS is now thinking differently, with one higher-up joking that the Web address for Innertube (the failed CBS portal) should be “CBS.com/nobodycomeshere.”
“We can’t expect consumers to come to us,” says Quincy Smith, the president of CBS Interactive. “It’s arrogant for any media company to assume that.”
This problem doesn’t exist on mobile, at least in this form. Generally speaking, the carriers serve up the video choices themselves, though getting consumers to find it when it’s buried four levels down in cryptic cellphone menus is a challenge unto itself.