August 17, 2006
CBS News Joins Cross Platform Competition with Simulcast

With all the innovations put in place with ABC and NBC's news divisions over the past few months, it's no surprise that CBS would fire back with plans to further transform its cross-platform news distribution. CBS has now announced earlier today that the new CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will debut next month as a simulcasted news broadcast, streamed through their Web site as well in its regular televised time slot.

CBS's cornerstone broadcast is the first foray of one of the major networks into simulcasting a major news broadcast in this manner, giving CBS a chance to gain some ground in the race the three major American broadcast networks have been in to stake their claims as online broadcast news innovators.

After the initial simulcast, the program will remain available anytime through their on-demand video service. Viewers must register with the site to be able to view the news, and the news will be available when it airs in each area's time zone.

WIth ABC's new 24/7 approach to news and NBC's new Web updates with videos and blogs every morning about what will be on the nightly newscast, CBS's simulcast shows that the industry is continuing to move forward in cross-platform news delivery. CBS' spin is that it wants to make its news available to people who are not in front of a television set when their news airs, hence both the live streaming of the news and the archiving of the episode for later viewing.

And they are smart to unveil the simulcast with the beginning of Couric's version of the news, providing the feeling that she will be ushering in a new era for the broadcast network once associated with the best news coverage of the three big broadcast networks. This seems to be a case of competition creating the best possible environment for the viewers, as the big three have certainly gotten into a war for best transmedia news coverage.

Now, if they can all put this much energy into content...