CNET’s weekly holiday tech downloads must have been successful, because they’ve announced an expansion of VOD segments — this time ad supported. They plan to launch 2-3 hours of monthly programming, broken into 15 minute segments, beginning in June. Neat, I guess… but where’s my TiVo movie download feature?
CNET Announces CNET TV; Cox Communications, TiVo Inc., and TVN Entertainment Sign on to Launch CNET TV On-Demand; CNET to Bring On-Demand Experience to Its Web site
SAN FRANCISCO–April 17, 2006–CNET, a source of information and inspiration for a world gone digital, and a property of CNET Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNET), today announced “CNET TV,” a new video-on-demand (VOD) service that packages a selection of CNET’s popular video content for distribution on television and online. CNET TV will launch initially with partners Cox Communications Inc., TiVo Inc., and TVN Entertainment, as well as on CNET in the second half of the year.
As consumers are increasingly interested in taking advantage of a world that has gone digital, CNET’s videos have grown dramatically in popularity, with over 100 percent increase in video streams in the last year(1). Videos range from instructional to informative to entertaining, and are integrated throughout CNET’s family of sites, which include CNET.com, News.com, and Download.com, to enhance the user experience.
CNET TV will provide online users and TV viewers a single destination where they can access all of CNET’s original video content. Video content includes CNET’s popular video franchises such as Insider Secrets, Weekend Project, and First Look from the Labs. For online users, the content will be programmable based on topics of interest, or by selecting a favorite “channel,” made up of the CNET franchises. CNET TV will also feature special news reports, coverage of special events such as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, user-generated videos, and regularly scheduled programming to keep consumers updated on the day’s news and trends. Interactive tools will let users engage with CNET’s editorial personalities, build custom play lists they can share with friends, and click to buy products or read full reviews.
The VOD partnerships follow a successful trial run with TiVo in which CNET’s videos, offered to TiVo Series2(R) broadband connected subscribers, were found to be very popular(2). Cox Communications, the third largest cable operator in the nation; TiVo, a pioneer in on-demand viewing; and TVN Entertainment, which provides leading MSOs (multiple service operators) and telecommunications companies more than 2500 hours of VOD programming from over 100 content providers, will package CNET TV to fit their own platforms and customers.
“As a digital media company born of the web, we understand how to create original video programming that helps demystify technology and brings users as close to the product as possible without seeing it in-person,” said Joe Gillepsie, executive vice president of CNET. “As a result, we’re finding that in today’s on-demand world, our content is in-demand. Our charter relationship with TiVo is an indicator that consumers and on-demand providers want the kind of specialized content CNET produces. These deals give us another platform to reach today’s most passionate and engaged audiences.”
CNET TV, which launches with Best Buy Enterprise, Inc. as a charter sponsor, also presents an exciting opportunity for marketers to insert their message in front of highly-engaged consumers. As today’s consumers are increasingly in control over what they watch and when they watch it, marketers are faced with new challenges in reaching them. With the on-demand model, marketers have the opportunity to present their messages to a high-quality audience that has tuned in because they are looking for inspiration and information about today’s digital world.
“We continuously seek out new technologies and marketing opportunities that let us engage with our customers in meaningful and relevant ways,” said Laurie Blum, senior media strategy manager at Best Buy Enterprise. “VOD is the ultimate environment to reach people that are highly-engaged, and we’re looking forward to extending our partnership with CNET as a charter sponsor.”
The CNET VOD deals are exemplary of a larger trend at CNET Networks. Other leading CNET Networks’ properties have also recently announced deals that bring original video content to television. Most recently, GameSpot, one of the leading sources for gaming information and part of CNET Networks’ Games and Entertainment division, announced that it would produce two original series for Gameplay HD, the new gaming channel from VOOM HD Networks. The programming includes GameSpotting, a half-hour series of news, reviews and previews, and CinemAddicts, an hourly series featuring video games in a cohesive cinematic story.