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Exclusive: CBS.com launches social TV platform 'CBS Connect'

Social TV continues to mature and become the main web strategy for major TV networks. CBS.com has just launched CBS Connect, “a new social hub connecting fans with each other and CBS stars.” The site will be a single destination where they will aggregate content from Twitter and Facebook across all of CBS’ programming. The new platform is aimed to allow fans of CBS shows to connect even further with the stars of the shows. It’s no surprise that CBS is taking their social TV offerings to the next level.

In April 2011 they launched their first “Tweet Week“, followed by a second one the following fall. Then as sweeps week rolled up, they launched “Social Week” a social TV event to ramp up in time for sweeps week. NCIS Los Angeles will be the first show to hold a Twitter party during the May 15th, two-hour finale. Marc DeBevoise, the SVP/GM for the CBS Interactive Entertainment Division promised more social TV in November and we spoke with him exclusively about this new launch and the sponsor (Skype) they’re launching with.

Lost Remote: Why did CBS decide to launch CBS Connect?

Marc DeBevoise: We had a great response from our fans during the past social events we’ve done like Tweet Week and Social Sweep Week. To take it to the next level, we wanted to create the best, ongoing social experience for our shows, instead of confining it just to special event weeks. We now have talent and fan based social initiatives happening regularly across our shows and wanted to give users the ability to surface those across multiple platforms quickly and easily. With CBS Connect, we are giving fans and easy way to find and interact with each other, as well as their favorite CBS shows and stars.

LR: Why did Skype get involved?

DeBevoise: Skype is the perfect partner for CBS Connect. Their video calling technology fits really nicely into many of the things we’re doing to give fans more access to each other and our show talent via video calls. Skype is also looking to reach the audiences that are watching and interacting with our shows, so it’s a great fit.

LR: What are the social elements? How will it make TV more social?

DeBevoise: TV has always been social. People have always identified themselves with specific shows, formed relationships with the characters and shared those experiences with friends and family. What’s changed in the past few years, is that we now have technologies that connected viewers to a much broader set of friends and other fans (millions of them) and do it instantaneously (often while the show is airing). CBS Connect takes advantage of these technologies to aggregate the social conversations around our shows into one place. The core of CBS Connect centers around the social activity that happens for a show on Twitter and Facebook. In addition to having access to the social activity for your favorite shows in one place, we’ll also host chat events with our launch partner Skype. It will offer fans a great second screen experience to all their favorite CBS shows in single destination.

LR: What partners are you working with?

DeBevoise: We’re excited to be working with our launch partner Skype to roll this out and host chats on CBS Connect. In the future, we hope to continue to work with Skype but also look forward to working with additional partners and sponsors as social activity around our shows, and therefore CBS Connect, continue to grow.

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