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CBS Looks To Blogs And Social Networks For Revenues

Monday, 17 Mar 2008 | 3:51 PM ET

CBS has a couple strategies to make its shows widely available online. It's the only one of the major networks distributing its shows (ad supported of course) on YouTube. And nearly two years ago CBS created Innertube, the online video player on CBS.com that streams sports, news, and sitcoms.

The goal is, as always, to monetize the eyeballs watching content online, and now CBS has a whole new approach.

CBS' television affiliates are launching a revenue-sharing ad network targeting social networks and blogs. The technology displays headlines with links to video and text on the CBS affiliate site. The web sites displaying the clickable headlines get a piece of the ad revenue generated by the CBS affiliates.

They're calling these trends "widgets," which basically means they're little bundles which can be easily added to a local blog or local web site and updated during the day. This will be particularly useful for bloggers as it's easy, and the bloggers can make quick money from placing these widgets.

This falls into the trend of news and advertising being increasingly targeted and specialized. (All the better to get websurfers to spend money.) Some big advertisers are on board, including AT&T and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

And this will roll out in several big markets for both local news and advertising, including Boston, Chicago and Dallas. Coming up in the next month--Los Angeles and Miami.

Local news is at a turning point and the networks want to figure out how to make their affiliates as relevant as possible in this era of 24-7 targeted news. The strategy here is building the reputation of the local affiliates as a source of constant updates online as well.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.