Partnering with startup Ustream, CBS News will today announce plans to live-stream all of its “Evening News” broadcasts and breaking news reports over the Internet. The deal is a non-exclusive, ad-revenue sharing deal.
Everything CBS agreed to stream on Ustream.tv will also go live on CBSNews.com and all of the Web sites run by CBS’s owned and operated local TV stations.
It’s a first for any major media company’s broadcast news division, and a “validation” for both Ustream and the live-streaming industry as whole, Ustream President and co-founder Brad Hunstable told us.
To understand why the deal happened, you have to go back to January 15, 2009. That’s the day US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River. Just as the news broke, a passenger on a nearby ferry uploaded an image of the floating plane to Twitpic and linked to it on Twitter. Quickly, hundreds of thousands of people rushed to see the image and talk about it.
And that was just one, static image.
The vision behind today’s news is to make CBS News’s Ustream feed the place on the Internet for all those Twitter users and millions of others go for full-on, premium coverage when major news breaks. During such a major breaking news event, “Twitter will be going crazy with everyone that wants to talk about it and the only place to watch will be on Ustream,” says Ustream president Brad Hunstable. He calls it “viral news.”
Today’s announcement also highlights Ustream’s strategy to focus on premium content — the kind that Ustream’s ad sales force, when it gets one, will find easier to pitch to agencies. Ustream also wants to add to the 10 million unique vistors it saw in the last 30 days.
Besides the “viral news” compentent, motivating factors for CBS included a new emphasis on live video and a desire to reach a younger audience, Vice President of CBSNews.com Mark Larkin told us. He said CBS went with Ustream instead of competitors like Livestream.com and Justin.tv because of Ustream’s superior tech platform and because of how “responsive” the site has been dealing with issues like pirated content.