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CBS's smart bet

Starting Thursday, CBS will make available the NCAA tournaments live and for free on the Web. First of all, I have to say, "It's about time a major media network went for it!" As I wrote in my Net Sense column on MarketWatch, CBS's decision is aggressive - perhaps risky - but definitely clever, and akin to an uncontested layup. There are more rewards than risks, that I see. To this end, boldness is of greater value than preparedness. The only real cost is the outlay for technology to support at least 200,000 simultaneous users. So, how much is this costing CBS to air online? It depends on the quality of the streams (256kbits or 512kbits)  and average per meg cost of bandwidth. By using an estimate of 200,000 users and 256kbits, one very smart techie came up with a cost of $2 million.  He said it's an expensive bet, but a good test of the market. What's your best guess?

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