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CBS to put “Evening News” with Couric live on Web

August 17, 2006

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – CBS said on Thursday it will stream
its prime-time news program with Katie Couric live on the
Internet simultaneously with the newscast, a first for a major
TV network that highlights U.S. broadcasters’ rapid expansion
on the Web.

The Web casts will begin when Couric first sits in the “CBS
Evening News” anchor chair on September 5 in a high-profile
arrival after leaving her co-host job on NBC’s “Today” morning
show.

Couric takes the post that previously was held by Dan
Rather and before that by Walter Cronkite, in a move aimed at
boosting CBS from its No. 3 position in network news
viewership.

In the week ended August 11, for instance, rival NBC
averaged about 8.1 million viewers a night compared with ABC’s
7.5 million and CBS’s 6.9 million, according to Nielsen Media
Research.

CBS’s move to “simulcast” the Evening News and provide
other Web content, such as a “Couric & Company” blog, also
marks a new way for it to win wider audiences. Spokesmen for
CBS’s rivals were quick to point out that they offer Web
content, too, although not live simulcasts of nightly news.

In a statement, CBS called its strategy a “groundbreaking
development.”

“It’s another giant step toward providing CBS News content
to people wherever they are — in their homes, in their
offices, in their cars, on their computers or on their cell
phones,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports.

In the past year, as high-speed broadband Web connections
to homes and offices have reached mass market levels, the
demand for video online has greatly increased and networks are
now offering some shows for downloading on-demand.

NBC offers “NBC Nightly News” with anchor Brian Williams
on-demand after the live newscast, and the network puts out a
Web blog on the day’s news-gathering called “The Daily
Nightly.”

ABC puts up a 15-minute original Web cast called “World
News” every afternoon, and it also offers a blog.

CBS will match and try to exceed its rivals’ efforts. CBS
said the Evening News will be available on-demand, and it
unveiled another new Web show, “Eye to Eye,” hosted by Couric
and featuring extended interviews which will be available
on-demand.

Other Internet content will be “CBS News First Look with
Katie Couric,” a live Web cast from the CBS news floor early in
the morning, and “Katie Couric’s Notebook,” a one-minute
glimpse of a top story or an important issue.

CBS is owned by CBS Corp., NBC is a unit of the NBC
Universal media division of General Electric Co., and ABC is
part of the Walt Disney Co..

Reuters/VNU


Source: reuters



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