Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Don't Forget CBS's Online Network Innertube When Planning Your Fall Viewing

When it comes to the internet as network entertainment medium, it looks like CBS might just be "getting it." According to the Hollywood Reporter the Eye will be floating a number of its key shows on their internet channel Innertube.

The HR reports:

episodes from "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "CSI: Miami," "CSI: NY," "Jericho," "NCIS," "Numbers" and "Survivor" will be posted on Innertube the morning following their initial network broadcast. Episodes of the three "CSI" series, "NCIS" and "Numbers" will be available for four weeks while episodes of "Jericho" and "Survivor" will remain available on the broadband channel all season.

Add to this revelation, the DVD advance release of "Kidnapped" and "Studio 60" pilot episodes to Netflix by NBC and you can see how these two networks are trying to stay ahead of Disney and their iPod connection. By the look of things, it appears that CBS and its Innertube Channel may just be leading the way and may have even come up with a possible solution to the "Serial Television" problem that Hollywood Reporter Ray Richmond reported about during the Television Critics Association Summer Meeting.

It is with the serial drama, like the new show "Jericho," where the new medium will become most useful in establishing an audience. The consumer directed and on demand nature of internet content will raise the possibility of "Jericho's" survival. Let's say the show gets good critical reviews early on, but that the show is extremely dependent upon knowledge of prior episodes. No problem, consumers can watch -- at will -- the earlier episodes, in the case of "Jericho" the whole season to the date the person first tries the show, and catch up on what has happened.

Not to mention that if "Jericho" doesn't get enough TV viewers, ratings are everything, but it achieves awesome web numbers, the show might continue as an online (and hopefully eventually DVD) only show. Imagine if "Firefly" had been made available in this format by Fox, or "The Inside," or "Invasion."

Those assume that the show will be good, a fact I cannot testify too or even guess at, but if the show isn't good than Innertube won't harm the show either. The addition of an internet television network is an exciting opportunity for even more viewer selected programming. Current Nielson systems are not 100% accurate, but bandwidth demands don't lie. If one show's content creates a drain on servers, you know you have a hit.

Exciting times my friends exciting times.

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