CBS Signs On For Comcast Broadband Trial; 17 Cable Networks Also Sign

By Andrew Gauthier 

CBS has confirmed that it is joining the Comcast’s On Demand Online trial, part of the industry-wide TV Everywhere initiative. CBS is the first broadcast network to provide content to the online TV service.

CBS was joined in its announcement by 17 cable networks, including A&E, Food Network, History, and E! Entertainment, that will also participate in Comcast’s web trial.

Media analyst Staci D. Kramer of PaidContent breaks down the move…
So what does CBS gain? A splash of publicity, some data about how a small sampling of cable subscribers, and, not to be underestimated, the chance to support the countrys largest cable operator. The only broadcast net without the dual revenue stream of ad-supported cable nets, CBS needs retransmission fees even more than its competitors and Comcast has been vocal about its lack of interest in paying.

Trial, not deal: CBS Interactive CEO Quincy Smith told me last month that the potential for authentication to lead to more ways for CBS to get paid made the concept very interestingbut without linking it to the R word. When we talked today, he stressed (as have other programmers) that this is a trial announcement, not a deal.

That ubiquity, of course, doesnt extend to Hulu, the broadband video JV that includes broadcast rivals NBC, Fox and ABC. CBS has been a high-profile Hulu holdout since it rejected the chance to be a pre-launch equity partner. For a few months, the two shared space on CBS Interactives until Hulu yanked its programming after the site relaunched as a video portal. More…