On the heels of branding its owned TV stations as 24-hour news destinations via revamped and feature-enhanced Web sites, CBS is doing the same with its network news operation.
Calling it a "significant shift" for CBS News, the network "will move from a primarily television and radio news-based operation to a 24-hour, on-demand news service, available across many platforms, drawing on the experienced, worldwide, award-winning resources of the Division."
Enhanced features on CBSNews.com will include the addition of a blog, catchily titled "Public Eye," a video player, called The EyeBox, for 25,000 news clips and video yet to be broadcast on the net; and a third initiative, [which could be called Bleary Eye] in which staffers will be asked to help fill the Web with original reporting and commentary 24/7, or what CBS calls "greater participation from the CBS News correspondents and producers who will also be reporting directly for the web."
"This major expansion of CBSNews.com is designed to capture an audience that is increasingly looking for news and information at all times of the day, not just during scheduled periods, and using the Internet for that purpose," said Larry Kramer, president, CBS Digital Media.
In its announcement Tuesday, the network called the project part of a "cable bypass" strategy that would appeal directly to the growth market of Internet news consumers. Unlike its broadcast-network competitors, CBS has been unable to tap the round-the-clock resources of a cable-news property. (NBC works with MSNBC, Fox utilizes Fox News and (to a somewhat lesser extent) ABC partners with ESPN and ABC News Now.)
The nework will also attempt to mesh its existing news operations with the online effort. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer will host a daily online version of his television broadcast. White House correspondents John Roberts, Bill Plante and Mark Knoller will produce weekly features to address questions about their beat. Early Show anchors Harry Smith, Hannah Storm, Julie Chen and Rene Syler will also provide online programming.
Betsy Morgan, who has managed CBSNews.com since 2001 as VP, business, development, for CBS News, has been named senior VP and general manager of the expanded Web initiative.
An archived video webcast of CBS' press conference can be viewed here.