CBS uploads 'Brother' to online site

CBS is planning a major new media push for reality staple “Big Brother” — including a presence on the net’s new Innertube online network.

Starting with the show’s July 6 premiere, Eye will put episodes of “Brother” on Innertube the day after they air. It’s the first time the net has put any of its primetime entertainment programming on the site.

As with all Innertube programming, episodes of “Big Brother” will feature a limited amount of advertising. It seems logical CBS also will allow viewers who want to see commercial-free episodes of “Brother” to download them from iTunes as well, though nothing’s official yet.

Eye has offered paid downloads of a few of its shows on the iTunes Music Store and Google’s video store, but free streaming of a skein’s entire season reps a new frontier for the network. ABC has been offering free streaming of a few shows on ABC.com for a few months now, and it’s believed other nets soon will follow suit with some of their fall skeins.

Besides the Innertube presence, Eye’s new-media unit — headed by Larry Kramer — is expected to announce several other tech pushes tied to “Big Brother,” perhaps as early as Wednesday. CBS declined comment.

It’s believed the net is working on deals with wireless carriers to allow auds to text message votes in situations where viewers are put in control of the on-air action. It also seems logical that clips from “Brother” could be made available for download via cell phones.

Eye also has renewed its deal with Real Networks allowing viewers 24/7 access to the “Big Brother” live feeds. Service will cost $39.99 for the summer, according to ads on CBS.com hawking the subscription. That’s up substantially from last year, when the subscription cost $29.99.

“Big Brother” already is generating tons of traffic for CBS.com thanks to the decision to let auds play a role in casting this season’s “all-star” edition. Eye said last week that millions of online votes already had been cast via CBS.com.

Skein is produced by Shapiro/Grodner Prods. in association with Endemol USA.

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