How to satisfy that Morley Safer craving . . .
How to satisfy that Morley Safer craving . . .
How to satisfy that Morley Safer craving . . .

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    CBS just announced a partnership with Amazon's CustomFlix to offer custom-made ninety minute videos of clips from the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes for $24.95. The service, “CBS News Archive” is in the obligatory beta—old media can do this too–but it's worth checking out. It looks like the coverage goes back to at least 2000, and you can watch “trailers” of the clips before you order.

    I'd like to take a minute to point out how close to awesome this is. A searchable archive of television news footage? A long tail for TV news? But then, force consumers to wait for their footage to arrive in the mail, locked up in a DVD format you need to break the DMCA to extract. For 25 bucks.

    Ooh. So close.

    Maybe there's consumer demand for this, only time will tell. Personally, I have my doubts. At the very least, props to CBS for experimenting with a new revenue model, rather than riding existing business models off of various legislative cliffs.

    Of course, the timing is convenient. In all the hubbub over net neutrality many have forgotten that the Senate Telecom bill, S. 2686 still contains both the audio and video broadcast flag. The video broadcast flag contains an exception for “news and public affairs programming whose primary economic value is timeliness,” ostensibly because the ability to excerpt and share news is important to civic discourse. Perhaps more importantly, the networks hadn't made any compelling argument as to how they'd make money off old news and public affairs broadcasts. That is, there's no obvious business model that would be threatened by allowing individuals to record and distribute excerpts of TV news footage.

    Until now.

    Which is to say, just keep an eye on that news and public affairs exception.