Starting today, CBS is providing Yahoo! with local news clips from its 16 owned and operated stations in exchange for a big chunk of the Yahoo! local news page, links back to the local station sites and a revenue share from advertising sold by Yahoo!.
Under the deal, the CBS stations are receiving prominent placement of three video thumbnails on the right-hand side of Yahoo!'s local news page, above the ad. The left-hand side continues to consist of print sources — including text versions of various stories from local TV stations. Selected clips, such as the closing of New York's CBGB nightclub or the Corey Lidle plane crash, might receive additional play if they are selected for Yahoo!'s national news page coverage.
We talked to Yahoo! News head Neil Budde about the deal. "It is about expanding the marketplace," said Budde, who noted that Yahoo! has already had ties with CBS vis-a-vis 60 Minutes and the Nightly News. "We've been building local news for six to nine months" and also been developing the video channel. "Video and Local News are two things we've been focusing on. So the relationship with CBS makes sense."
Budde emphasized that the deal has been specifically set up to avoid channel conflict. CBS and Yahoo! will split revenues from pre-roll advertising, but Yahoo! won't pitch local businesses. While no specifics were released about Yahoo!/CBS advertising, pre-roll ads typically run $25 to $50. According to Budde, other station group owners are likely to be pursued by Yahoo! to expand beyond CBS' 16 markets.
From CBS' point of view, Yahoo! is going to provide a lot of additional promotion and distribution for its stations, which are really beginning to ramp up with "best of" contests, etc. Yahoo! News currently is getting just under 36 million users, compared with 8 million received by CBS, according to comScore. While it has been generally overlooked in the hubbub over Google's deal with YouTube, Yahoo! is also a leading force in video. In September, Yahoo! had 50 million video streams — more than YouTube and MySpace.
CBS, of course, is not the only TV station owner putting clips on the Web. As reporter Mark Walsh writes in Media Post, NBC is also syndicating video clips from its 10 stations, as well as YouTube-like user-generated content in partnership with Motionbox.