CBS Launches Local Ad Network

Posted on March 17, 2008

Caroline McCarthy at News.com's The Social blog reports that the CBS Television Network is launching a program that will have local bloggers installing CBS News widgets in exchange for revenues. The CBS Local Ad Network is being managed by a company called Syndigo. One blog already approved for the CBS widget advertising plan is SFBayStyle - you can see the widget on the right side of the blog.
On Monday, the program was launched in a selection of the TV network's regional markets: Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago. Within the next few weeks, CBS has said, the CBS Local Ad Network will come to New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.

Some of the blogs currently participating in the new program are San Francisco's SFBayStyle and Boston's Red Sox Nation. Approved sites will be able to choose the content of the CBS headlines displayed (breaking news, sports, politics), as well as select from a number of options to determine, for example, whether they want video content in the widget.

Bloggers can't just embed a widget and hope for profits, CBS Television Stations Digital Media Group president Jonathan Leess told CNET News.com. "There's a screening process, obviously," he said. "We have to figure out or get some visibility into what the content is on that site, and then we screen, but we have a third party (Syndigo Networks) that administers all this for us."

CBS declined to share exact breakdowns of the revenue-distribution process. "All of it's based on certain traffic estimates from each of the sites, and (ad) placement," Leess said.
Paid Content says no payments will be made until over $50 are earned by the partner.
Payment is 45 days after the calendar month; payments that don't exceed $50 will roll over until they do. The contract runs one year. As far as I can tell-and I may be missing something in the fine print-members have to sign up before they are told the rev share amount.
Turning local bloggers into affiliates is a smart move. This is the kind of idea that could also motivate others to launch local blogs and generate a local blog boom. It may not necessarily be this exact program from CBS that ignites a local blog boom but the news networks do have some potential here to use blogs to spread their brand. The program that succeeds will be the one that bloggers can build a business around.