US networks stream for free

US television networks believe they have found the business model needed to profit in the digital age – streaming their hit shows over the Internet for free as opposed to selling them to consumers as digital downloads.

This Autumn, the major networks are gearing up to stream unprecedented amounts of programming with embedded advertisements on their own websites and via those of distribution partners. They are embracing streaming video after recent experiments eased concerns that it would cannibalise traditional broadcast audiences and undermine business models. Instead, many TV executives are confident that putting programmes online will build greater awareness among consumers and increase audiences. The networks have also been encouraged by advertisers, who are rapidly shifting their budgets to the internet to reach young consumers.

Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive, commented: “Ad-supported streaming is absolutely the future.”

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