Yahoo Hosts CBS Video from Hometown News Teams

To monetize its news video and drive traffic back to its own station sites, CBS Corporation will distribute video footage from its 16 CBS TV stations on Yahoo starting today. The multi-year deal provides CBS with a portion of revenue from pre-roll video and display ads sold through Yahoo to national advertisers. CBS has agreed to make Yahoo News its exclusive news site syndication partner.

In turn, Yahoo will host only CBS TV local news video in the Designated Market Areas (DMA) covered by the 16 stations, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Austin and Green Bay. CBS is in talks with other non-news portal sites about syndicating its local TV video content, said Jonathan Leess, president, CBS Television Stations Digital Media Group.

Pre-roll video spots and complementary display ads will be served with CBS’s one-to-two minute clips, 10 to 20 of which will be fed from each station every day. According to Leess, Yahoo will handle ad sales. Leess added that only national advertisers will be offered the ad slots, so as not to compete with local CBS advertisers.

Local CBS stations earn higher video CPMs from local advertisers that do more refined targeting than from national advertisers, Leess said. “We can’t have our sales team in our stations selling inventory to local markets and having anyone conflict with that.”

CBS video will be prominently displayed on the Yahoo Local News pages served to people in locales covered by the 16 stations. When stories are of broader interest, said Yahoo News GM Neil Budde, “We’ll be surfacing it elsewhere across Yahoo News.” The hosted CBS clips will also be searchable through Yahoo’s Video Search.

News video viewing on Yahoo has grown more than tenfold since last September to 50 million streams per month, he added. According to a March 2006 Online Publisher’s Association report, 27 percent of online video viewers watch news video at least once a week.

In its ongoing focus on providing local video, Yahoo is “talking to other players who may have stations in other markets,” according to Budde. The company will also continue offering links to news video from other local news sources, in addition to providing national and international news footage from CNN and ABC News.

Each local CBS station will be identified on Yahoo’s video player and elsewhere on the page alongside the video clips it distributes through Yahoo. While the clips syndicated to Yahoo will be short-form, extended versions of news stories, from interviews to car chases, will be available on the CBS station sites. Indeed, CBS hopes to steer users to its TV sites through Yahoo. “We are expecting a significant amount of traffic,” added Leess.

In December 2005 CBS struck a deal with Yahoo by which the portal offered two complete episodes of the network’s sitcoms “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother” for one week. Earlier that year CBS Digital Media altered its CBS site to better incorporate video content from its TV properties. CBS launched its broadband video portal innertube in May of this year.

NBC and ABC have also made their TV content available through their own sites and partner sites.

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