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CBS Talks with DirecTV, Google for VOD

Two weeks ago CBS Dipped its toe in the on-demand programming waters, and now it's looking to make a bigger splash. On the heels of a report that CBS is in talks with Google for video search and on-demand video deals -- and others including DirecTV for on-demand video -- now comes word that CBS is also in talks about expanding its deal with Comcast. "We are talking with our affiliates right now," said a CBS spokesman. On November 8, CBS and Comcast made a deal that enabled viewers to buy some CBS shows for 99 cents through Comcast's on-demand service. Those shows include commercials.

CBS' Chairman Les Moonves said CBS shows would be available only in those Comcast markets where CBS affiliates are owned by CBS Corp., and where Comcast systems existed. Moonves said there would be no affiliate station conflict, since he would only need to 'talk with myself' -- which means dealing only with CBS affiliates owned by CBS Corp.

Conflicts can arise from deals made outside these markets. If CBS or Comcast sells advertising in CBS shows that run on a VOD service in markets where there are non-CBS-owned network affiliates, those station executives would complain that their exclusive agreements to air CBS programming would be in jeopardy.

In contrast to other networks which made similar on-demand programming moves, CBS appeared to be more cautious. Now, according to a CBS spokesman, the network is looking to open up as many distribution points as possible, with its traditional affiliates taking part in the discussions.

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