News Providers Strive to Make Streaming Work
After sport, news is the next streaming offer from broadcasters
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Since their inception, streaming services have been associated with entertainment, battling it out to get the best slate of films and TV shows. As time has gone on, live sport has become increasingly important, and this importance will only grow. However, the next battleground is news.
Not surprisingly, it is in the US where we see this most starkly. The showdown between NBC and CNN is laid out clearly in this Variety piece, for instance. On the former’s Peacock service, you can watch breakfast shows live and watch some of the news content on demand too. It also has NBC News Now, which is largely based on content that is different to the linear service. (And is actually available on TV here in the UK.)
Tom Harrington, head of TV at Enders Analysis, told me:
The movement of news onto streaming products reflects the direction of viewing towards online, but as has been seen it is nowhere near as easy as just simulcasting cable channel output on an app. The biggest stumbling block is the restrictions in the carriage deals with the cable companies (which fund most of the enterprise) meaning that you can't simply offer the same content and presenters direct to consumers online. Hence why CNN looks different on Max, Fox Nation only has day-old linear content and NBC News Now has its own anchors and shows.
This barrier of “carriage” deals - whereby outlets are paid by the cable companies who include their channels in their bundle - does not exist in the same way in the UK. This is due to the license fee model and the prominence of free-to-air television. Warner Bros. Discovery has reportedly already received a lawyer’s letter from Direct TV about adding CNN to Max. The BBC doesn’t have to run it by anyone if it wants to simply put its new channel online via the iPlayer.
The American system “creates inefficiencies in an already inefficient medium, especially magnified if you're launching with barely any subscribers or revenue such as CNN+ would have,” Harrington explained.
[More insight from Harrington below.]
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