CBS Beams Programming to Verizon Phones

TV network CBS announces a new deal under which it will offer video clips from some of its best-known programs over Verizon's V Cast wireless video service.

CBS Television announced Wednesday that it has struck a deal with Verizon Wireless to begin offering some of its broadcast content over the mobile carriers V Cast streaming video network.

Marking the first time that the Los Angeles-based network has shipped its content to handheld phones, the companies said that V Cast customers gain immediate access to news segments from CBS News and Paramount TVs "Entertainment Tonight," and previews for popular shows including "CSI," "Survivor," "The Amazing Race," "The King of Queens" and "Late Show with David Letterman."

As part of the news content, CBS said it will offer clips dedicated to breaking stories produced by its "CBS Evening News" and "The Early Show" programs, while entertainment-oriented clips will offer content such as the nightly Top 10 List from comedian Lettermans show.

CBS and Verizon said they also plan to begin offering behind-the-scenes footage and interviews recorded with the casts of its prime-time programs in the near future.

The deal further illustrates the rapidly expanding efforts of traditional TV programmers to move into emerging video services, including mobile phones, computers and handheld devices such as Apple Inc.s video iPod.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about RealNetworks efforts to send content to multimedia-enabled mobile devices and handsets.

While the V Cast deal doesnt allow Verizon customers to view entire programs, the partners believe they can lure more TV viewers to CBS shows and increase usage of V Cast through the effort.

Executives with CBS said that the V Cast deal is only a first step in moving more of its programming onto different platforms.

"At the intersection of the mobile phone and the television lies tremendous programming, promotion and brand extension potential," said Cyriac Roeding, vice president of wireless for CBS Digital Media, in a statement.

"This deal with Verizon Wireless represents a major step for us into mobile entertainment and another point of contact with the consumer to promote our great content brands."

Unlike rival networks ABC and NBC, CBS has not yet made a deal with Apple to make its programs available over the companys iTunes download service for $1.99 per episode.

In announcing its deal with NBC earlier Wednesday, Apple reported that it has sold more than 3 million video downloads since first launching the expanded iTunes service in October.

However, CBS has made at least one major move in establishing new channels for distributing its content, signing a deal with Comcast Corp. in November that will allow the firms customers to order individual episodes of CBS shows including "CSI" for 99 cents apiece on Comcasts digital cable network.

In another interesting distribution move announced Tuesday, CBS revealed that it has partnered with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) to provide free streaming video rights for out-of-market game coverage during the 2006 college basketball championships.

Dubbed as NCAA March Madness on Demand, the initiative marks the first time that the popular sports tournament will be made available online free of charge.

For its part, Verizon said earlier this month that it plans to launch additional multimedia services to V Cast subscribers using Qualcomms MediaFLO network sometime in 2006.

Under the plan, the carrier will introduce the mobile TV services in roughly half of the cities where it currently offers its EV-DO network, which is built on CDMA wireless standard.

Some wireless companies are already backing another video standard that competes with MediaFLO, dubbed DVB-H (digital broadcast video-handheld).

Among the programming already available over V Cast, which is supported by Verizons EV-DO network, is content produced by MTV Networks, News Corp. and 20th Century Fox.

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