After initially resisting online streaming, CBS is now taking to it like a duck to water. A new catch-up TV app has been released for iPad and iPhone giving access to full episodes for up to 7 days after they air.
Along with other networks, the new iOS app will restrict some content, for a while at least. So although you can watch hit shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, How I Met Your Mother, NCIS, The Young and The Restless, Elementary, The Good Wife and Survivor the day after they air. But some top shows such as The Mentalist and The Big Bang Theory, can not be watched until 8 days after broadcast.
So why are CBS getting more involved online and releasing more content? It could well be something to do with the way TV ratings are now counting online viewers. CBS have always been wary in the past of streaming content online, as they fear it will mean viewers and advertisers get driven away from broadcast TV.
Now that online viewers will be counted, those worries are gone. And as for advertising dollars, the app will come with both advertising and sponsored programming. President and CEO of CBS, Leslie Moonves said, “We have been methodically and strategically finding new ways to satiate the appetite for our content on new platforms, while tapping into the tremendous revenue provided by doing so. Our announcement today achieves both of these objectives, while protecting our very healthy current ecosystem.”
The app will work as a catch-up service, so no full seasons and content will be gone after a set period of time. The app comes with usual features such as favorites and social share buttons to Twitter and Facebook, and it marks the last U.S. network to launch a catch-up service.
President of CBS Interactive, Jim Lanzone said in a press release, “Our online viewers not only want to watch their favorite shows on multiple devices, they want deeper engagement with the programs they love. The new CBS App gives them the best of both worlds, letting people watch CBS shows on the best screen available for them, with a host of extra features that give them a richer viewing experience whenever and wherever they tune in.”
CBS have been slowly adding more of their output online recently. The company signed a deal with Hulu last November for the rights to show archived library of content, and Amazon tied up rights to stream Stephen King show, Under the Dome.
CBS is the last network to launch some sort of streaming TV experience of its own on mobile devices. ABC has its ABC Player app, NBC has an app, and Fox has Fox Now. They all offer varying degrees of access to their television content, but none provide complete lineups of what the network has to offer.
CBS say they have plans to bring out a catch-up app for Android and Windows 8 devices later in the year. You can download the CBS app for iPhone and iPod right now from the App store.