Pure Madness: CBS, YouTube pact for vids

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NEW YORK -- CBS Corp. and YouTube on Thursday announced a partnership that will place an NCAA men's basketball March Madness channel with CBS Sports content on YouTube.

The CBS Sports NCAA Tournament Channel will feature highlights of games, news conferences and clips produced by CBS Sports and CSTV, all quickly uploaded to allow the YouTube community maximum interactivity.

That interactivity will include the normal applications of commenting on clips and the ability to e-mail them, and users also will be able to post their own video clips and in effect create their own highlight reels. The channel is being sponsored by Pontiac, which is subsidizing the cost of the package in an ad-revenue share.

"In YouTube, you have a confirmed community, and it's the largest community of video watchers online today," CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith said. Smith said that CBS had seen what that community had done around March Madness last year and that got the network interested in working with them this time around.

"This shows the growing momentum for sports content in the fact that our user base, the people who are on YouTube every day, love this content," said Chris Maxcy, director of content partnerships at YouTube. YouTube has similar deals with the NBA, NHL and the U.K.'s Chelsea Football Club.

This isn't the first partnership between CBS and YouTube, and executives said it probably won't be the last, though they declined comment on the status of negotiations for the wide-ranging deal between the companies that had long been rumored. CBS is one of the most aggressive of the traditional media companies in dealing with YouTube.

CBS' one-time corporate cousin, Viacom Corp., said last week that it was suing YouTube and corporate parent Google for content violations. But Maxcy said Thursday that the March Madness deal with CBS hadn't been affected by the Viacom suit.

"What's happening with Viacom has no impact on the work we have with CBS," Maxcy said.

Smith declined comment on the Viacom suit.
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