VIACOM TELEVISION STATIONS GROUP ANNOUNCES NATIONAL ROLL OUT FOR "CBS IS ALWAYS ON" INTERNET INITIATIVE
Station Internet Sites To Re-Launch With Significant Design, Navigation and Content Improvements, Including Enhanced Streaming Television Video, Unique Local Search, Wireless Alerts and Deeper, Richer, More Locally Relevant Content
Already Launched Markets Include Salt Lake City (www.kutv.com), Minneapolis (www.wcco.com) and Denver (www.cbs4denver.com) with San Francisco (www.cbs5.com), Chicago (www.cbs2chicago.com), Baltimore (www.wjz.com) and New York (www.wcbstv.com) To Immediately Follow
The Viacom Television Stations Group officially unveiled today a dramatic digital media initiative that includes the re-launch and re-design of each of its local station websites, adding greater functionality, interactivity, significantly improved unique live and taped streaming video products, richer, deeper, extensive local and national content, wireless alerts, with up to the second breaking news. The ambitious project, which is being managed by the newly-formed Viacom Television Stations Digital Media Group, is a year in the making, and has already conducted three soft launches with station websites in Salt Lake City (www.kutv.com), Minneapolis (www.wcco.com) and Denver (www.cbs4denver.com) with significant traffic increases.
In the coming days and months, the group plans to re-launch websites for all of its CBS stations, including San Francisco (www.cbs5.com), Chicago (www.cbs2chicago.com), Baltimore (www.wjz.com) and New York (www.wcbstv.com). In total, 17 CBS stations will re-launch their websites in 2005, followed by UPN stations in 2006.
The overall initiative will also feature desktop, wireless and mobile distributed components, including breaking news, traffic, weather and entertainment alerts in voice and text and, eventually, video.
The June launches of www.kutv.com, www.wcco.com and www.cbs4denver.com each registered significant increases in traffic and new unique users, and provided a glimpse into the new features and technology that will be part of each television station's new commitment to the always on world. Since breaking local news has always been a part of the stations' Internet efforts, the re-launched sites will now include:
• A unique, significantly enhanced video streaming product that allows viewers to instantly access any breaking news, live streaming television broadcasts and customized Internet-only broadband-delivered television content as well as free access to the thousands of hours of each local station's archived video libraries.
• A local search engine that incorporates zip code driven results that is enhanced by retrospective and prospective worldwide search products.
• Real-time weather maps and forecasting alerts.
• Live traffic cameras, maps and accident/construction alert systems that support real-time routing directions.
• Stock and financial indices, charts and news.
• Real estate guides.
• Travel planners.
• Live sports scoreboards and news.
• Local movie listings and restaurant reviews.
• Content sections dedicated to health, lifestyles, food, entertainment, pets, shopping, autos, careers and much more.
Viacom Television Stations Digital Media Group has enlisted a strong cadre of content and technology partners to support the overall initiative, in addition to each station's editorial and programming staffs, to offer the at-work and at-home consumer access to a plethora of local, relevant content 24 hours a day.
"We're very excited to announce this national roll out, for it represents a real turning point in our stations' ability to connect with viewers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," said Fred Reynolds, President, Viacom Television Stations Group. "We have some of the strongest local news brands in the country, and translating that to the digital universe, where there are millions of users looking for relevant, local content, presents a great opportunity for us. We not only have the content, but we've amassed an impressive collection of partners who will be providing additional features to users of our websites."
"Never before has a station group put this much emphasis and these many resources into re-launching their local websites," said Jonathan Leess, President, Viacom Television Stations Digital Media Group. "The improvements we are making across the board – from New York to Chicago to San Francisco – will significantly enhance our station's ability to connect with the millions of broadband Internet and wireless users who are thirsting for more video and for locally relevant content. The commitment behind this initiative represents the television broadcast paradigm shift we must make in order to adapt to today's on-demand, always on consumer. Our new television websites are the early steps towards breaking the proverbial mold, and further establishing our television station's as the leaders in local news and information."
The Viacom Television Stations Group consists of 40 stations, including 21 CBS, 16 UPN and three stations not affiliated with major networks.