CBSSports.com is again offering March Madness On Demand, streaming live all games of the NCAA men's basketball tournament for free. But as with all great technological advancements, it comes with a price of a different kind.
The network is thinking of rolling out a year-round Video On Demand feature that will include not only NCAA men's basketball tournament highlights, but also other college sports as well. This will of course dominate your every waking moment at work and enslave us all.
NCAA VOD: The Best of March Madness, created by CBS Sports and CBS College Sports Network, has been picked up by cable and satellite distributors including Comcast, DirecTV, Verizon, Insight and Mediacom. The service will offer highlights from recently played games as well as "NCAA March Madness Memories," which features about 35 of the greatest moments from the tournament.
CBS is working on a similar NCAA VOD service featuring an array of sports that would program 12 months a year. The service would draw from NCAA archives, which contain 20,000 hours of footage.
What sort of monster has CBS created? Last year the web site had 3.3 million unique visitors over the first four days of the tournament, which was up 129 percent for 2007. This year CBS predicts that online viewership will increase 50 percent overall to 7.2 million.
What effect this has on the nation's workforce is unclear. What is known is that the CBS site recorded nearly 3 million clicks on its "Boss Button" in 2008; that application on the site in which users can kill the speaker sound and jump to an Excel spreadsheet if a supervisor approaches their desk. This should work if your boss is Ebeneezer Scrooge, but don't most companies have ways of monitoring employee computer use remotely? Hmm.
Anyway, while your company may be hemorrhaging cash during the tournament due to you goofing off, other larger corporations are benefiting. General Motors, for instance, is returning as a NCAA Tournament television sponsor, despite having pulled their ads from the Super Bowl this year. Ad-wise, the tournament is proving to be bulletproof despite the lagging economy.
Only six days and a handful of hours until Selection Sunday, when you will once again pick a couple of dubious first-round upsets and chose a Roy Williams-coached team to win it all, spending the remainder of the year wallowing in bitter regret. To recap: Your brackets are doomed. But have fun!
Don't Tell The Boss: CBS Website Again Puts NCAA Game On Demand [USA Today]
Exclusive: General Motors Sticks With CBS' NCAA [Broadcasting & Cable]
CBS Eyes NCAA On-Demand Year Round [TV Week]
CBS March Madness On Demand [Official Site]