RealTime IT News

Yahoo to Stream CBS Programs on Web

Members of the "Big Three" television networks continue to discover what Web-savvy netizens have long known: the Internet is a great place to display your product, as well as messages from advertisers.

Now add CBS to that mix as the Tiffany Network prepares to offer free streaming video of a pair of comedy programs in its line-up, "Two and a Half Men" and "How I Met Your Mother" this week on the Yahoo Web site.

The half-hour shows will be available without commercials beginning today through Jan. 2, according to both companies.

It is the first time that Yahoo is streaming episodes of a CBS television series in their entirety.

The announcement signals yet again that television is getting serious about the Internet. With the worldwide broadband video market consumers are increasingly demanding that content be delivered to where it is convenient for them, most notably on their home computers.

CBS's News division announced last summer that it would expand its CBSNews.com operation, "bypassing cable television in favor of the nation's fastest-growing distribution system -- broadband."

The Fox network made a similar move too, announcing its Fox Interactive Media (FIM) launch last July in order to manage its online units such as foxsports.com, foxnews.com and fox.com.

Both pay and advertising-supported broadband video markets exceeded 100 percent growth in 2005 over the previous year, according to ABI. As consumer demand increases, content owners' demand for alternative outlets is expected to follow.

Broadband growth is expected to reach $16 billion through the end of the decade, according to ABI Research.

Last month, Time Warner made a splash with announced plans to stream episodes from Warner Brothers television programs free on the Internet.

The move was significant because of the vast array of programming Warner Brothers has to offer. Beginning next month couch potatoes will be able to catch up on old TV shows delivered across Time Warner's Internet division America Online on a broadband network called In2TV.

Although the shows are free, revenue is expected to come from the sale of up to two-minute blocks of 15- and 30-second commercial spots.

Also in November, "NBC Nightly News" become the first news program to air its entire broadcast on the Web , a move that might lead other networks to increase distribution over the Internet.

The half hour newscast dubbed "NBC Nightly News Netcast with Brian Williams" will be available for free beginning at 10 p.m. EST, according to NBC News. It will be the same program that aired earlier in the evening and will include breaking news updates. NBC News said past broadcasts will be archived on the site.