CBSi Advanced Media Rethinks Digital Strategy With “College Sports Live”
With a new college sports year has come a new digital strategy at CBS Interactive Advanced Media for its content partners. Last month, the company launched its redesigned all-access subscription-based product College Sports Live for more than 100 partner schools featuring live streaming and on-demand audio and video coverage.
The new digital streaming product replaces ULive and individual school All Access products. In previous years, CBSi had offered individual subscription products to each of its school partners. Now one subscription grants access to all content from all schools under the CBSi umbrella.
“What we realized is we weren’t really serving the fan,” says Patty Hirsch, GM, CBS Interactive Advanced Media. “We had these fragmented offerings out in the marketplace. When you talk about a college sports fan, while they are loyal to a certain school, they also really like college sports. So we realized we wanted to bring content to the fan in one place and essentially have a college sports network that’s accessible to any user on a digital platform.
Hirsch noted that in the past, individuals would be forced to purchase multiple subscriptions if they wanted content from multiple schools. She said some users would purchase as many as nine subscriptions at a time.
“We’re seeing fans are consuming more than just one school’s content,” says Hirsch. “That’s our goal and so far we’re seeing that and we’ll continue to add content to make it richer and continue to reduce any fragmentation we may find.”
While the new platform will serve as a digital destination for any college events on a CBS linear channel, the live streaming events made available on College Sports Live are largely Olympic sporting events produced by the schools themselves. CBSi does not provide any minimum broadcast standards to their schools in the way that ESPN does for ESPN3 telecasts. Hirsch feels that the schools have come along enough that that kind of direction was not necessary.
“When we first started doing these products years ago, the quality just wasn’t there,” she said. “We would literally have situations where someone would set up a camera on a laptop and leave. Things have changed dramatically. The quality overall has improved and the schools are really investing in that.”
College Sports Live gives subscribers access to of over 18,000 live events and thousands more related on-demand videos throughout the year. The embeddable video player utilizes responsive design and high-quality video streams to connect fans directly to their school’s athletic events, as well as interactive programming guides, live stats, social integration, and trending content.
College Sports Live can be accessed online at www.collegesportslive.com and through each partner school’s site. It’s also now available for mobile on iOS and Android. Subscriptions cost $9.95 monthly or $99.95 annually.