CBS Plans to Expand TV.com
Today, CBS is expected to announce content deals with MGM, PBS, Showtime, Sony, and Endemol USA (producers of shows such as "Deal or No Deal" and "Fear Factor") to add popular shows to its online video streaming site TV.com.
Several weeks ago, CBS started featuring its own content on the site, and has had a content deal to access the Hulu library for several months. This is all part of an ongoing revamp for TV.com since CBS acquired the domain as part of its purchase of CNET last year. For several years, CBS has tried to stay relevant with online video streaming through content deals with third-party providers such as AOL and Beebo. However, the success of Hulu--a joint venture NBC and Fox--seems to have prompted CBS to step up its game.
What CBS hopes will really catch on at TV.com are the social media features that other sites, including Hulu and Joost, have also tried to implement to varying degrees. On TV.com, users can participate in forums, comment, rate, and review episodes; tag preferred programming; create a favorites list; contribute to episode guides and other content on the site; and start a blog. Hulu, by comparison contains fewer than half of these features.
CBS chief Les Moonves calls TV.com "extremely exciting" and believes it will become "one of the leading destinations" for video streaming, according to The New York Times. But why he thinks social media, and a lineup that you can find almost anywhere else--save, of course, for CBS's own shows--is such a winning combination is anybody's guess.
How many people are really interested in getting yet another social media profile just to comment on a TV show and create episode guides? As I've said before, the world is awash in an endless array of social media sites. The problem is this forces users to have too many separate identities across a wide range of sites with nothing to bring it all together.
Some services, such as Facebook Connect and OpenID, are working to consolidate things; however, the concept has yet to catch on. It seems to me that what people really want out of online video streaming is a fast, easily navigable site with a rich library to choose from. Social media features might be nice, but just because you can add them doesn't necessarily mean you should.