CBS Keeps Propelling HDTV

CBS Keeps Propelling HDTV

CBS has been the driving force in HDTV promotion and production in the broadcasting industry, and the coming season is no exception. CBS has already hammered out deals for several major broadcasts and continues working towards increasing the amount of prime time in HDTV.

Thomson Consumer Electronics agreed to underwrite CBS’s HD broadcast of Super Bowl XXXV in the first HD programming deal CBS clinched for its upcoming season. The number one color TV set manufacturer, Thomson also agreed to sponsor four American Football Conference playoff games. The games include the AFC Wild Card on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2000; the AFC Divisional Playoffs on Saturday, Jan. 6 and Sunday, Jan. 7, 2001; and the AFC Championship on Sunday, Jan. 14. The Super Bowl XXXV kicks off from Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 28, 2001. Thomson most recently sponsored CBS’ HDTV broadcast of the NCAA Tourney in March.

Super Bowl XXXV
CBS also plans to dig into its new resources with Viacom for the Super Bowl. Viacom subsidiary MTV will co-create the halftime show with the NFL, also to be broadcast in HD. “Not only do we plan on staging an unforgettable music production, but we’re excited it will be airing on our new sister network CBS,” said MTV President Van Toffler. “Our goal is to produce an incredible event that the Super Bowl audience will enjoy and remember for years to come.” The list of performers for the event has not yet been released.

Mitsubishi sponsored last year’s telecast of the U.S. Open in HDTV and has agreed to the sponsorship again. The high-definition coverage of the event will begin on Friday, Sept. 8, at 11:00am, and end with the men’s final on Sunday, Sept. 10. In all, the HD broadcast will last 18 hours.

Overall, CBS plans to offer even more prime time in HDTV than it did last season. “Our present intuition is that every one of our regular series shows will be produced in HDTV,” said CBS Television Executive Vice President Marty Franks. Mitsubishi, who has sponsored a lot of HD programming in the past, will concentrate on sponsoring sports and other special events this season. CBS is courting sponsors for its regular programming.

Because the cost of HD is going down as more post-production facilities are equipped to handle the new technology, Franks feels optimistic about sponsorship possibilities. CBS is expected to announce several more HDTV programming deals in the next few weeks.

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