Carsey-Werner Distribution, which handles such off-net series as 3rd Rock From the Sun and Cosby, has created a separate unit within its company to syndicate programming online.
Called CweDistribution, the division has linked up about a dozen Internet portals, including EarthLink and eUniverse, to showcase Carsey-Werner-branded content as well as programming from other companies looking to get their product onto the Internet. The programming could range from original projects to content from entertainment companies' existing libraries.
ITM/Reuters and Paramount's Real TV have already sought out CweDistribution to leverage their offerings online.
In terms of the motivation for Carsey-Werner Distribution, a division of Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, to go after Web syndication while others are deserting that arena, its president Bob Raleigh explains, "there's 300 million people using the Internet. It's not going away." Raleigh says that unlike now out-of-business sites like Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), CweDistribution can send participating company's content "across all the high-traffic places. This is a different model than DEN - one specific destination that people had to locate." And he says advertisers will appreciate a simplified process of coming to one place, CweDistribution, to do their online business.
While much of the content is still in the planning stages, Carsey-Werner is aiming to post online never-before-seen footage of 3rd Rock, in honor of its season finale this month. Carsey-Werner's Web unit will operate much like any regular TV distribution division, with revenues coming in from a combination of license fees and ad dollars for any product CweDistribution syndicates.
- Susanne Ault