CBS already beams news of national importance through its CBSN live-streaming service. Now it hopes to the same for viewers in major cities that have a craving for local news.
The company plans to launch CBSN Local, a 24/7 live-streaming service that will beam anchored news coverage and breaking events from major markets served by CBS-owned stations. CBSN Local will first launch in the New York City in partnership with WCBS, the company’s flagship station and WLNY, an independent Long Island station, owned by CBS, in the fourth quarter of 2018. The rollout is expected to continue in Los Angeles, with KCBS and KCAL launching its service, followed by other major markets.
The local streams will be available through CBSN on CBSNews.com and the CBS News apps for mobile and connected TV devices, and through CBS Television Stations’ websites and mobile apps. CBSN launched in November of 2014, and the company says nearly 80% of its viewers are between the ages of 18 and 49, with an average age of 38.
Launch of the project has been in the works for some time. Viewers are interested in more local news, said Christy Tanner, executive vice president and general manager, CBS News Digital, in a recent interview, during which she hinted at some plans related to local news for CBSN. “We will be digging deeper into local, getting outside the Beltway, taking advantage of affiliate and local experts” in some looming political races set for the fall. “There will be more to come on that front,” she said.
The share of Americans who often get news on a mobile device – 58% – has nearly tripled since 2013, according to a July report issued by Pew Research. In that year, only 21% of U.S. citizens did.
The announcement shows CBS trying to maintain a status quo of sorts even as the corporation faces a chaotic scenario. The CBS board of directors has launched an investigation into allegations made against Leslie Moonves, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. Six women raised allegations of sexual harassment that took place between the 1980s and early 2000s.
“I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely,”Moonves said in a statement to the magazine. CBS is expected to report on its second-quarter performance Thursday.
CBS has in recent months unveiled several streaming services. Aside from CBSN, the company has launched CBS Sports HQ, a streaming sports-news service, and CBS All Access, a subscription-based product. CBS has announced plans to launch a live-streaming service centered around entertainment news and based on Entertainment Tonight.
Each CBSN Local service will feature live streams of CBS Television Stations’ regularly scheduled early morning, daytime and evening newscasts and additional daily newscasts that will be produced exclusively for CBSN Local. The services will provide live continuous coverage of breaking news events and also offer and a library of content available for on-demand viewing. The CBSN Local programming is expected to be led by anchors and reporters at local CBS Television Stations.
CBS said the new local services will be supported by advertising and will ultimately be included as live channels in CBS All Access in their respective markets.