CBS SportsLine, in cooperation with CSTV and the NCAA, is offering March Madness on Demand, which will provide free streaming video of live NCAA tournament games starting this week. About 20 advertisers have signed on to run ads during the Webcasts.
Why would CBS put its content on the Internet, potentially drawing viewers away from its live TV coverage? Because it's betting that it won't lose viewers, but instead will gain tech-savvy fans.
NBC should study what happens. After its disappointing Olympics ratings, the network would gain from watching other networks maximize the Web's potential. The CBS SportsLine offering will provide insight into how networks can do it. Options for watching Beijing in '08 may be quite different than they were for Torino.