The deal spans CBS' daytime drama, late night, and prime-time properties. Some TV hits slated for their own rich media venue: The Late Show with David Letterman, Everybody Loves Raymond, Touched by and Angel, JAG and The Young and the Restless. Communities will also be built around such special events as The Ricky Martin Special, The Shania Twain Christmas Special, The Country Music Awards and The Grammys. Stars of the CBS shows will be called into service to host live chats in a virtual environment.
Communities.com is the parent company of two community sites: The Palace at thepalace.com and OnLive! at onlive.com. The Palace relies on rich media interactive software while OnLive! features multi-voice audio communication technology. The CBS sites will be built within the Palace network, with links from CBS.com, or a specific property site, to drive users to the shows' communities inside The Palace. Users who log on get to choose a virtual image to appear on screen, and with that image can communicate to other users using text, graphics, movement and audio.
The new rich media communities provide "extraordinary opportunity in terms of commerce and content," said Larry Samuels, president and CEO of Cuppertino, Calif.-based Communities.com. "I think the other [entertainment] companies will follow suit."
Advertising can be imbedded into the virtual chat room. Users can click on products and go straight to an e-commerce or promotional site. Communities.com takes a chunk of advertising and e-commerce revenue.
New York-based CBS.com will utilize on-air promotions to tout the new sites, as well as on-site banners targeting the 9.5 million users who visit the site every month. CBS.com is a division of CBS New Media, which in turn is a division of CBS Television.
Communities.com delivers solutions incorporating audio, graphics, and text to support communities. Communities.com acquired OnLive! Technologies and The Palace in in 1998. One of the company's more well known clients is
Artisan Entertainment, for which Communities.com built a chat site for the independent film The Blair Witch Project.