CBS News takes interactivity to a new level by linking with Ustream

CBS News recently started using interactive video platform Ustream to broadcast live breaking news, original content from cbsnews.com, and a delayed 10pm broadcast of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

In the news
CBS News recently started using interactive video platform Ustream to broadcast live breaking news, original content from cbsnews.com, and a delayed 10pm broadcast of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Users can watch the videos on Ustream or embed them on their own Web sites.

Jeff Ballabon, CBS News' SVP of communications, says Ustream allows it to reach a younger, Web-savvy audience, bring in additional revenue, bolster the brand, and achieve a level of interactivity that perhaps surpasses that of the network's broadcasts on TV and its Web site. For now, the videos will only be available for viewing when they are streaming and will not be archived on the site.

Why does it matter?
“Being too protective of content is self defeating,” says Ballabon. “Getting branded content out on the Internet and spreading it wide actually brings more people back to the core destination and the source of the content.”

Peter Himler, founder of Flatiron Communications, says this is a smart move for CBS, and eventually all news networks will have to experiment with live Web video.

“If they can build brand esteem... even without the advertising, there are less tangible benefits that make it worthwhile,” Himler says.

However, as the notion of “appointment viewing” is disappearing and people want to be able to get news when they want, and from whatever device they want, the key lies in the networks' ability to make their news searchable.

“It's not just streaming the entire newscast, it's taking certain segments and optimizing those for discovery online,” he adds. “The real beauty of digital video is the ability to have it be discoverable through search.”

Three facts:

1 Ustream launched in 2007. It was created by two ex-military veterans and a third partner to help soldiers simultaneously communicate with multiple loved ones.

2 In the first 24 hours Ustream's iPhone application was available it was downloaded 100,000-plus times.

3 The 2008 Republican National Convention used Ustream as a platform to broadcast live video during, and leading up, to the convention.

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