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CBS online video player to add social features to help sell ads

CBS is set to unveil a new online video player later today that will offer a number of social features designed to encourage users to register with the site, which in turn will help drive ad sales.
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Written by Steve O'Hear on

CBS is set to unveil a new online video player later today that will offer a number of social features designed to encourage users to register with the site, which in turn will help drive ad sales, reports Advertising Age.

Registered users will be given the ability to embed CBS video clips elsewhere on the Web (blogs, social networking profiles etc.), along with access to 'viewing rooms' whereby multiple users can watch and discuss the same content in realtime. Additionally, HD content will be offered "that doesn't require a download."

A key motive for rolling out the features is "to give advertisers what they want: better reporting and targeting data", says the report.

If CBS can build in enough valuable, community-oriented features to persuade people to register to use them, it will be able to use that data to give advertisers more immediate, granular ways to measure viewers.

Linked to this strategy is giving users the ability to take CBS content with them and embed videos on social networking sites for example. But for this to pay off, "means it has to build community features into the player and wrap a layer of analytics around it if it wants to own the data and experience." In other words, there is no point setting your content free if you can't track who and what people are doing with it.

Along with better metrics, which should lead to better ad targeting, is better recommendations built around online communities. And this is where CBS thinks its acquisition of Last.fm will eventually be beneficial.

CBS also bets that the kind of technology Last.fm uses to power its music-recommendation service will work just as well for suggesting video content to users and, eventually, serving advertising. Last.fm recommends music to users by comparing their profiles and listening preferences to those of other users. The ad system will eventually bring in more behavioral targeting, but it has a long way to go to get the scale necessary to properly target. "With the number of acquisitions we've made ... we'll get there," said Ken Lagana, senior VP, CBS Interactive. He hopes better research will incite advertisers to get creative with custom executions -- games or other ads that extend beyond 30 seconds.

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