CBSSports.com Opens March Madness On Demand Video For Easy Access From Any Site

This story was written by Staci D. Kramer.
Seeking more online viewers for games and ads, CBSSports.com and the NCAA are announcing a "developer platform" for March Madness on Demand. It's not the kind of developer concept where people are encouraged to build apps; this one is all about encouraging links and providing javascripts to a pop-out MMOD video player that will be accessible from any site willing to follow the guidelines about trademarks and logos. (Ok, and from any site where someone wants to figure out how to go around them.) The set-up even offers a way to link to specific live games.

The move to a one-click process does away with registration for most users. The exception: those who want to avoid long wait time during peak times. CBSSportsline.com says it has given out more than half of the 500,000 "VIP passes." (MMOD 2007 streamed 2,598,889 total hours live to 1,381,875 total unique users.)

This probably wouldn't be a big deal in most cases these days but it's a significant step for CBS (NYSE: CBS), CBSSports.com and the NCAA. The network and the NCAA have made great strides on the broadband front in recent years, moving from subscription to ad-supported with a lot of limitations and, finally this season, to almost complete access with no blackouts. But they've only been inching ahead in that old nursery school lesson, sharing. Last year's YouTube effort was hobbled by the failure to allow embedding and the numbers show it. Last month, when CBSSports.com and the NCAA announced a Facebook partnership, Jason Kint, SVP and GM of CBSSports.com told me the network the video would be more widely available this year but wasn't ready with the details. At the time he said: "We understand and everything we're trying to do with the company is embrace disaggregation ... We get that, we're pushing as hard as we can across all fronts. At the same time, we have to manage our partnerships."

A couple of weeks later, I ran into NCAA president Myles Brand at the NBA Tech Summit in New Orleans. He talked about making progress but I also had the impression he realized the NCAA had yet to hit a social networking slam dunk when it comes to video. This may not be it either but it's closer. 


By Staci D. Kramer
  • CBSNews

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