For the show’s 15th season, Big Brother‘s live 24/7/except-when-they’re-censored feeds will be hosted on CBS web site, not on RealNetworks SuperPass, as they have been for the past 13 seasons.
However, a letter sent to affiliates (web sites that receive payment when users they refer sign up for the service) from a RealNetworks representative said that this summer, “the Big Brother Live Feed will have a new home this season on CBS.com.”
The letter said that CBS “plans to continue with an affiliate marketing program,” because those at CBS Interactive “understand the critical role you play in generating the interest and subscribers for this product.” It added that affiliates’ “support has been critical to building a large and vibrant community of Big Brother Live Feeds subscribers.”
That means there will most likely still be a charge for the feeds, because it wouldn’t make sense for CBS to pay affiliates for referrals that did not result in a transaction. Last summer, ABC’s Glass House offered free live feeds on its site, but only broadcast at certain times.
Six years ago, I reported that Real had stealth blogs covering the show without acknowledging that they were Real’s sponsored blogs; that’s different than affiliate programs, which many sites use to generate revenue.
The actual content of the live feeds–including frequent blackouts and censorship for absurd things despite occasional leaks of actually sensitive content–is unlikely to change, because that’s controlled by the show’s producers.
Executive producer Allison Grodner previously called having feed watchers monitor the show “quite brutal, but it’s also what makes this show special, and it’s also what makes this work on so many levels, so we do embrace those people and love having them.”