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Next TV Summit: CBS Exec Touts Digital News Net

CBS Interactive exec Marc DeBevoise thinks CBS’s forthcoming 24/7 digital news network will resonate with consumers. 

“I do think there is demand,” said DeBevoise, CBS Interactive’s executive VP/GM of entertainment, sports & news, during a keynote Q&A Wednesday moderated by Broadcasting & Cable programming & digital media editor Dan Holloway at the Next TV Summit & Expo San Francisco. “I think it’s been underserved by the existing brands."

“Even though there are 24/7 brands, even though there are folks that dove in, they may not have the right mix," DeBevoise said. "We think we do.”

DeBevoise stopped short of revealing any specifics about the digital net, only saying that the company is “pretty far along” in the development process. 

He added that CBS is trying to figure out how to leverage its resources for the digital net, which is out of CBS News and CBS Interactive.

“I’m not sure it’s a real estate war,” said DeBevoise when asked by Holloway if the digital net was an attempt to plant a flag in the space. “I think our brand will resonate. Either it will [resonate] or it won’t with certain users.”

Other highlights from the panel included: 

  • DeBevoise said that there are no plans to live stream any of the network’s Thursday Night Football games because CBS hasn’t struck any deals for streaming rights.
  • College sports are a big part of CBS Sports offerings. The executive said all Southeastern Conference (SEC) games are streamed by CBS. The CBS division also runs sites for 127 schools, where fans can see non-televised athletics and other content.
  • When it comes to the concept that video is video, DeBevoise said “mentality matters.” He said “it's just not true” that video is video. Quality and reach make a difference. 
  • DeBevoise said he is excited about a number of things on the CBS horizon, including the network’s new shows, Thursday Night Football, the digital news network and the company’s partnership with FanDuel.