NAB 2015

CBS Affils Seem All Aboard For All Access

Reactions from affiliates after a briefing on the CBS All Access streaming service show recognition that the move into program streaming is inevitable, and not unwelcome, in their view, despite the many challenges still to be overcome.

CBS affiliate representatives were feeling upbeat about CBS All Access after attending a special meeting on Tuesday where the new over-the-top program streaming service was the sole topic of discussion.

“I thought there was a lot of positive energy,” said one of them, Ron Sweatte, chief technology officer for Northwest Broadcasting, who’s a proponent of the new streaming technology.

“The affiliates are here because they’re interested in it,” he said after the meeting, which was organized by the CBS Affiliate Advisory Board and attracted several dozen CBS affiliate execs attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas.

Attendees at the meeting, held in a hotel meeting room, saw a presentation whose theme was expressed in a headline displayed on a large screen, “CBS and Affiliates Move Into Digital Together,” a slogan aimed at promoting unity between CBS and its affiliates as the All Access service takes shape.

CBS Affiliate Board Chairman Mike Fiorile characterized the All Access “learning process” as a work in progress. Reaction to the presentation was “positive,” he told TVNewsCheck after the session. “But they’re still learning,” he said of some of the attendees. “It’s a lot to comprehend. We’ll probably have to do this two or three times.”

“Folks need to kind of absorb this,” added board member Ed Munson, general manager of KPHO Phoenix. “On the board, we’ve been talking about this for about a year [but] it’s new for many of the affiliates.” Still, Munson said, “I didn’t hear a lot of naysayers [at the meeting].”

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Indeed, attendees interviewed by TVNewsCheck after the meeting seemed to recognize that TV’s move into program streaming is inevitable, and not unwelcome, in their view, despite the many challenges still to be overcome.

“It’s difficult to get content cleared,” said Northwest’s Ron Sweatte, “and that was one of the bigger challenges that we heard in there. But at the same time, it’s the future of what we’re doing in broadcasting.” He said Northwest is “a believer” in the new technology.

Another broadcaster encountered outside the meeting room offered this blunt assessment. “It’s pretty simple,” he said of the All Access technology. “I don’t see why you wouldn’t want it. Just give me the box and I’ll hook it up.”

Read TVNewscheck’s other NAB Show digital coverage here. Find our full convention coverage here.


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