The management at CBS (NYSE: CBS) has caught onto something that should have been obvious. Most internet users don't watch full-length video on their PCs. It could be the small screen size or lack of remote control.
Part of the success of YouTube may be that the typical video on that site runs just a few minutes. It captures attention and keeps it, often until before the viewer gets bored. CBS is trying to adapt its video model to the reality that shorter clips appear to be watched much more often.
CBS will launch CBS EyeLab, a production operation that will put together short clips from a number of its shows and distribute them to a wide variety of websites. According to The Wall Street Journal "CBS says the EyeLab-produced clips will both entertain viewers and serve a marketing purpose."
Everyone already knew that most internet videos, especially on sites like YouTube, are watched by teenagers and young adults. People in this age group have the attention span of a house pet, so catering to their inability to stay focused for long is a brilliant idea. Especially since CBS is controlled by an owner who is past 80.
Douglas A. McIntyre is a partner at 24/7 Wall St.