Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is CBS Interactive standing by CNET or exerting to much control?

This is just getting weirder and weirder. I like many of the media sites that fall under CBS Interactive but I am really beginning to question some of their recent policies and how much control they are exercising over their subsidiaries where they originally stated that +CNET  would have editorial independence.

First, during CES 2013, CNET voted Dish Network's Hopper with SlingBox integrated as one of the finalists in it's "Best of CES" awards. Because CBS (among others) is sueing Dish Network over The Hopper's Auto Hop commercial skipping feature, they decided CNET can't review The Hopper. +Greg Sandoval even quit over the issue. CBS then had to scramble and write an actual policy about the issue.

Second, to keep in line with the new "no review" policy, CBSI told CNET they cannot review the new Aereo Roku app. If your not familiar with Aereo, they provide a service similar to slingbox. Basically, they have thousands of tiny aerial antenna for over-the-air broadcasts. These are piped over the internet to your browser, or, now it seems, the Roku app. The major networks, including CBS, have issue with this.

On the other side of things, as long as CBS is not in litigation over a product, they seem to be standing by CNET. CBS Interactive is currently in litigation with a group of R&B and hip-hop artists who says CBSI is promoting piracy by reviewing BitTorrent and other P2P software. CBSI is currently fighing an injunction that would prohibit CNET from reviewing BitTorrent software like the new BitTorrent File Sync pre-alpha. At least in this case, they are standing by CNET. That's good, right?

Among all this, CNET says they will still have unbiased news on everything, including things that are in litigation, they just can't review the products.