CBS is looking online to attract new viewers for its popular comedies “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
The network will make two complete episodes of each of the Monday night sitcoms available for one week in a deal with Yahoo The promotion is called the “CBS Comedy Bowl,” alluding to the plethora of college football bowl games that take place this time of year.
“We want to be where the viewers are, and this exclusive partnership with Yahoo gives us the chance to target an expanded online audience for ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ at a time of the year when many potential viewers are home on vacation and surfing the Internet,” Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, said in a statement.
The half-hour shows, which aired earlier in the season, will be streamed ad-free in Yahoo’s video player, available from a mini-site on Yahoo TV. The initiative is being promoted on the Yahoo TV main page and via banner ads throughout the Yahoo network.
This is the latest of many online initiatives CBS has undertaken since April, when the network formed an interactive division, CBS Digital Media, and hired MarketWatch founder Larry Kramer to head the unit as president. The division unified both programming and ad sales for CBS.com, CBS SportsLine.com, CBSNews.com, and UPN.com.
“This deal marks a continuation of our ongoing broadband initiatives at CBS, and we believe that working closely with Yahoo will generate significant awareness for these two comedy series,” Kramer said in a statement.
In July, CBS Digital Media launched a video and banner ad offering across its CBS News sites, with plans to extend “The Eyebox” unit to all CBS sites. In September, CBS-owned UPN teamed with Google to stream its “Everybody Hates Chris” premiere. In October, CBS began offering audio podcasts of select shows on iTunes, including “60 Minutes,” “Guiding Light,” “NFL Hot Topic” and “Survivor Live.”
Other TV networks have launched similar initiatives, including ABC, which began in October to sell downloads of complete, ad-free episodes of top shows like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives,” signaling the advent of the much-anticipated convergence of TV and online. Since then, NBC Universal, Sci Fi Channel, USA Network and Disney have all made some of their shows available on iTunes.
AOL launched In2TV, a broadband video network that will begin in January offering episodes of more than 30 classic TV series. That content will be monetized by :15 and :30 video ads.
YouTube is said to be preparing new non-video features that will allow content creators to interact with their viewers through photos, text posts, links and polls.
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