CBSNews.com Launches Far-Reaching Ad Network

CBSNews.com announced a major Web site expansion today. With it come expanded ad opportunities that capitalize on broadband, incorporate other CBS broadcast and Web properties, and will eventually involve both text and video RSS feeds, as well as podcasts.

Andrew Heyward, president of CBS News, said the company had successfully “placed a bet early on ad-supported video” which has paid off for the network. The new site’s aim is to reach the 45 million-strong audience of affluent, at-work broadband users, many of whom are in a younger demographic than CBS’ broadcast viewers.

The redesigned site’s centerpiece is TheEyebox, a video window that plays on-demand news clips from CBS TV and Web-only news content — and which capitalizes on the growing advertiser demand for online video. The launch sponsor is WalMart, which is currently airing a :10 preroll spot before the selected clip plays.

Banners can also be added alongside or under the video window. They can be “synched” to video advertising, says Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media.

A goal, said Kramer, was adding “the newest and most successful ad units” to the site, including a wealth of rich media opportunities that weren’t technically possible on the previous CBSNews.com. These include a “front page wash,” or takeover, when a visitor arrives on the site, in addition to standard banner formats. Ford’s Mercury Mariner Hybrid campaign, which launched yesterday, occupies the sole banner position on the new site homepage.

Kramer said many of the new ad units are based on discussions with existing advertisers including WalMart, the site’s biggest sponsor, which has just renewed its contract with CBSNews.com.

TheEyebox will eventually be featured on all CBS online properties, and potentially on Infinity Broadcasting sites as well. This will enable vast reach with a single buy, as advertising on TheEyebox extends across that entire network. The CBS sites’ current audience is 20 million, according to Kramer. The video window also promotes programming and clips from other CBS divisions, including sports and entertainment, thus serving as an internal marketing mechanism.

CBSNews.com also offers video and text RSS feeds as well as podcasts. “We’re looking at how we’re going to place ads in video and text feeds. Everyone’s pitching solutions,” affirmed Kramer. “There will have to be advertising in this because this is free.” He also mentioned the company hopes to find a technical solution to rotate ads in video feeds so subscribers won’t have to view the same spot every time they play RSS-delivered video.

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