Does CSI stand for Constant Social Interaction?
The premise isn't original, of course. Smaller video sites have linked synchronized video-viewing with chatty interaction. Google's
But CBS is the first major TV network to adopt this trend, even though ABC parent Disney
Beyond policing flame-baiting trolls and inappropriate language, the challenge in pairing video and chat has typically involved getting viewers to watch the same clip at the same time. Going with live streams is a no-brainer solution, but the major networks have avoided that route in the past. As a compromise to keep local affiliates happy, the media giants typically wait a day before offering up primetime shows as Web streams.
However, those feathers have already been irreversibly ruffled. Whether networks are selling digital downloads or cutting Web-streaming deals -- like CBS did last week with Netflix
You can probably thank TiVo
Social Viewing Room probably has a bumpy ride ahead of it. Idiots flock to chat rooms like moths to a flamewar. But if CBS can give its site the friendly feel of your average living room, old-school media may become the content-rich new media darling.
Plenty is at stake. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves wants online revenue to climb to $1 billion by 2011, well ahead of the $600 million the company's ringing up now. This could be the start of something big. Just don't ask me to share my popcorn with total strangers.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz watches more NBC than CBS these days. He owns shares in Disney, TiVo, and Netflix. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy is more venerable than Andy Rooney, but far less grumpy.