CBS News Opens Its Video Archives

Amazon.com and CustomFlix announced today that they’ve entered into a deal with CBS News to offer archived news footage, prime-time news specials, and classic news (including material from the network’s long-running series 60 Minutes as well as CBS Evening News and long-form documentaries from CBS News Productions) through CustomFlix’s Create our Own DVD service. CBS has regularly made archived material available to researchers, academics, and other groups, but has had no mechanism in place to offer historic footage to the general public.

“This arrangement provides CBS News with a new way to make thousands of hours of our content accessible to millions of Amazon.com customers on DVD, most of which has never before been available in this format,” said Sean McManus, President of CBS News. “The service gives us the flexibility to distribute our content the way the customer wants it.”

Amazon.com customers will be able to order pre-selected DVDs of daily or weekly news programming and compilations, or assemble their own compilations through the CustomFlix Create Your Own DVD Service. DVDs containing 10 segments or 90 minutes of video will be priced at $24.95; custom DVDs are produced and shipping within two or three days in professional packaging with full-color covers and overwrapped amaray-style cases.

The arrangement initially offers access to selected material and full-length reports from CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes that have aired since 2000, but CBS News senior VP Linda Mason has indicated that, barring copyright restrictions, wide ranges of CBS News footage could become available over time, possibly including historic broadcasts from the 1950s and early 1960s as well as CBS’s coverage of major historic events such as the assassination of President Kennedy, Apollo 11’s landing on the Moon, destruction of the Berlin Wall, or the September 11 attacks.

No word on whether footage of Dan Rather asking “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” will be available.