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Thursday, August 17, 2006

CBS Tells Affiliates To Drop Dead

Stocks: (CBS)

CBS will stream the evening news free over the internet. Live.

The move is clearly gutsy. As video moves to the web from You Tube to Cinema Now movies, the big networks and studios have to feel they may be left behind. And, they might.

The real question here is not whether people will watch the news on computers. The CBS "March Madness" shows did well. So did webcasts of the world soccor tournaments.

But, what about the affiliates? As content moves to the web, the question arises about what local affiliates will do as a portion of their audience moves from viewing broadcast of key programs. Local affiliates generally run advertising in time slots assigned to them by the network. These run during the Evening News and other programs. The revenue base is important.

There is a battle brewing between the big network and its affiliates. It is too early to determine what the affiliate base will do to keep there revenue, but, it won't be long until we find out.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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