CBS moves to iTunes, Google deal “changing”

The CBS announcement yesterday that it would be selling programs via the iTunes model means changes for the network’s silly deal with Google Video. Remember that? CBS thought there was a market for “renting” their shows. Not! Well, Staci Kramer at tracked down CBS Digital boss Larry Kramer who says, “We’re in active discussions with them (Google Video) about the next step.”

No details about what that might be but today’s move puts Google Video at a tremendous disadvantage to services like iTunes when it comes to a show like “CSI.” If you can pay $1.99 and keep the episode on your computer or download it to a device versus $1.99 for a day-pass download, how many people are going for the latter? And if you want an episode from earlier in the season, iTunes is your only online option. (The NBA also went with Google Video first, then signed a broader deal with iTunes.)
Staci also notes that iTunes has sold over 30 million videos since the concept first began last fall. Think about that for a minute, and also take note of the fact that those numbers are trending upwards. The more the networks unbundle themselves, the greater the loss for the local affiliates, whose core competency depends on fresh or first rerun network programming. A year from now, the iTunes number will be north of 500 million, and pretty soon the networks will begin selling first-run programs.

This is why network affiliates must move to diversify themselves locally, and not everybody’s going to survive. As I’ve said before, the internet is a land grab right now. Stake your claim first, and you have a significant advantage over those who snooze and lose.

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