Sports continues its role as a leading online video innovator, as this morning CBSSports.com College Network, a division of CBS Interactive, is announcing an initiative to enable its 175 university partners to mine the value of their extensive sports video libraries, in a new partnership with technology provider Thought Equity Motion. Last week Rob Schupler, CBSSports.com College Network's SVP of University Relations and Dan Weiner, VP of Marketing and Products at Thought Equity Motion briefed me on their plans.
Rob explained that CBSSports.com College Network has a broad mandate with its university partners - to create their web sites, manage content, help build their fan bases, protect their brands and monetize through different business models. A key area of fan interest has been audio and video content, which is often available through premium subscriptions. However, when it comes to archived video content, the sites have mainly only offered a tiny fraction of what's in their vaults, usually just highlights from the past season. Rob said that the traditionally manual process of producers accessing archived content made providing a richer assortment operationally and economically unviable.
Still, CBSSports.com College Network and the universities themselves have recognized that fans have a very strong appetite to relive classic moments. This has recently been validated through the popularity of two other college sports-related initiatives that Thought Equity Motion has managed, the NCAA Vault and the ACC Vault. Both provide an indexed, easily searchable variety of classic men's basketball games and highlight clips.
Under the new partnership, CBSSports.com College Network will now be able to proactively approach its university partners with the opportunity to mine the value of their own archives, at scale, by licensing Thought Equity Motion's hosted video management and delivery platform. With the platform, universities will gain ready access to their archived video for their own internal purposes, and also for external use. Master video will be digitized and preserved with the ability to create and preview clips indexed from play-by-play metadata. These clips can in turn be integrated into universities' own web sites and/or offered for syndication to third-party sites or for stock footage licensing.
Rob said it will be entirely up to each university to decide whether to proceed, and if so, which sports to focus on first and to what extent. In all cases, rights are key: sometimes the universities themselves own the rights to the archived footage, and in other cases it is the TV networks that originally broadcast the games, or another rights-holder. Once the video is available, the universities decide whether to make access to the archives free, with ad support, or as part of subscription services, or as a hybrid of the two.
The deal appears to be a win for everyone. Universities further build their online relationships with fans while creating additional revenue opportunities. Fans get greater access to classic sports moments and enhanced online experiences. CBSSports.com College Network bolsters its value proposition to universities by bringing best-of-breed technology partners to the table, while also generating new revenues. And Thought Equity Motion gains a critical channel partner to drive further adoption of its platform. All in all, the deal shows how online video continues to drive value for various members of the ecosystem.
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