March 24, 2007
CBS Forms Deal with Sprint for Significant Mobile Television Content

CBS announced another major deal this past week that will lead to cross-platform distribution of a significant amount of its content to mobile devices through the Sprint service system.

Those who subscribe to Sprint TV will be able to start receiving video clips and live streams, as well as full episodes, provided by CBS.

The deal is that CBS provides the content to Sprint as an incentive to get more subscribers for Sprint TV, while Sprint in turn allows CBS to have complete access to sell advertising during those mobile programs. These mobile ads will include short spots before clips air as well as commercial breaks within planned live simulcasts of news content, such as a live mobile airing of The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric for Sprint customers.

Full episodes of Jericho will be available on demand, while clips will include a variety of the crime genre television shows on CBS, as well as the late night talk shows and reality show Survivor, Entertainment Tonight, and classic shows from the CBS archives.

CBS is not planning to marry itself exclusively to Sprint, however, as Michael Learmonth with Variety points out. "The Sprint deal is the latest in a string of mobile agreements to get CBS content on mobile phones. The Eye has a video deal with Verizon's V-Cast service, which includes streaming shows, and with Cingular, for clips. The Sprint deal is the first to be ad-based."

Learmonth's story points out that, while Jericho has not performed as well as expected on the traditional network, it has been the most popular show on CBS innertube.

Recently, I wrote about CBS' efforts to expand cross-platform distribution of March Madness by partnering with YouTube, and the network has launched a variety of other interesting projects as well, including the news contest for college journalists and new original programming on innertube.

Back in February, I wrote about the formation of CBS Mobile. I wrote, "One big piece of news I neglected to mention on the blog over the past couple of weeks is news that CBS Interactive is creating a new division to focus particularly on wireless entertainment. The division, given the no-frills title CBS Mobile, will help direct the links the company has built with a variety of mobile distributors, such as Verizon V CAST. Plans for the new cell service includes original mini-soap operas for mobile distribution, which will launch this year."

I also recently wrote about WWE's recent exclusive deal with Cingular for the distribution of mobile content.