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CBS to launch online news service

CBS joins the other major networks in establishing a 24-hour online news service, announcing that it will launch CBSnow in January.

CBS plans to launch CBSnow, a new 24-hour online news service with 110 broadcast affiliates signed on to provide local content, in January.

The new service will provide international and national news generated by CBS News and augmented by local news from its affiliates. It will be headed up by Dean Daniels, the network's vice president and general manager for new media, the company said.

"We will start with a bang," said Meredith Stark, executive director of CBS new media. But she said CBS was not yet ready to announce further details.

CBS joins the rest of the major networks in establishing an online news presence. NBC announced the launch of its Interactive Neighborhood earlier this week, and ABC launched its 24-hour news site earlier this year.

The moves are the latest developments in the media battle for the brass ring of advertising revenues. TV and newspaper companies are expanding their online offerings as the Internet increasingly threatens to take away market share. Yahoo, CitySearch, AOL's Digital City, and even Microsoft are launching their own city guides, aiming to cut into TV and print ad revenue.

The major networks also have turned to the Internet as a relatively inexpensive way to pay the rent. Launching a 24-hour cable channel--an idea ABC considered--would take a massive cash infusion. But an Internet site is a much smaller investment for companies like ABC, a unit of Walt Disney.

CBS already owns a controlling interest in the sports news site SportsLine, which announced in July that it would become a prominent tenant on the AOL Sports Channel.