CBS chief Les Moonves was pretty proud of his network’s $23 million haul from its Webcast of March Madness last spring. But as the network puts more live sports online this fall, it’s looking more like a freebee for advertisers than a digital windfall for the network.
CBSSports.com GM Jason Kint tells MediaWeek the network isn’t ask advertisers to pay extra to get their ads on its Webcast of SEC football games this fall. “You need to build the market first,” he says. This, after CBS aired the U.S. Open tennis final last week with the TV ads, a nice bone to throw to disgruntled advertisers after the match was shifted from Sunday (potential big audiences) to Monday afternoon (much smaller audiences).
A spokesman confirmed CBS will stream the TV ads on the web for SEC games as it experiments to see what the online demand for games will be. The big difference between March Madness and SEC football is that the hoops tourney takes place during work hours, meaning there’s a significant audience that can’t watch on TV. College football happens on Saturdays, when everyone except the most unfortunate fans will have access to a TV.
Will it end up as a significant business for CBS or stay a loss-leader? We’re not sure where the value for advertisers here. But we’re all for letting CBS experiment.
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