New episodes of the popular “Survivor” reality television series will be made available for download directly from CBS’s Web site for $1.99 per episode, a first in network TV, the company said Wednesday.
CBS is not likely to stop there either.
Its latest plans gives the television network an option to use its own online properties to distribute shows rather than relying on other companies such as Internet company Google or Apple Computer Inc.’s popular iTunes service.
To be sure CBS already sells its top rated shows including “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” on Google Inc. video service for $1.99 and on Comcast Corp.’s on-demand system for 99 cents.
It plans to pursue even more deals, executives have said.
But it has no intentions to be cut out of the action.
In a phone interview, Larry Kramer, president of CBS digital media, said CBS.com is now taking baby steps toward transforming the site into an online network like its TV counterpart and carry CBS-owned shows as well as those created by other outlets.
“We’re looking at other shows now,” Kramer said regarding plans to add new shows on CBS.com. “We want to go gradually. We’ve never done this before.”
CBS, which split from Viacom Inc. in January, has been aggressively trying since last year to appeal to new viewers, who now turn to the Internet and portable media devices for entertainment.
Although it had been dubbed by Wall Street as the “slow-moving” part of Viacom, CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves has aimed to put a new shine on the legacy television and radio broadcast networks.
“If we can create a good consumer platform, it wouldn’t surprise me that other companies would come to us as they do on the network,” Kramer said.
He added, “We’re reasonably confident to be in the video on demand business from now on — by ourselves and with our partners.
The company said it plans to share an undisclosed portion of the revenue with broadcast affiliate stations, as it has done with other new media deals.
New episodes will be available shortly after midnight following the airing of new episodes on TV. Customers will be able to watch the episode for a 24-hour period after paying.