CBS News is trying something new in streaming

CBS News is trying something new in streaming

CBS News is overhauling its streaming platform.

The news division of the Tiffany Network announced Tuesday that it will invest more deeply into its digital offering, completely rebranding the streamer as CBS News 24/7.

The Wendy McMahon-led change, set to take effect on April 22, will feature new programming. A slate of new shows includes “CBS News Verified,” a program dedicated solely to combating misinformation, as well as “CBS News 24/7,” a “live and comprehensive news broadcast” that will “capture what’s happening around the world in real time.” The John Dickerson Show will also expand to 90 minutes later in the spring. In addition, the network is expanding its presence across the country, staffing a “news hub” with reporters in cities from Cleveland to Las Vegas.

The move by CBS News, of course, comes as the legacy television news channel struggles with a rapidly declining linear business. CNN and NBC News have invested in their own streaming networks.

We sent McMahon a few questions about CBS News’ ambitions in the streaming space. Below you will find the Q&A, which has been edited for length.

Can you describe the decision-making process that led to the expansion and rebranding of the CBS News streaming platform?

Our ambition is to be #1 in free streaming, and we leveraged the playbook we used to take our 14 owned and operated stations’ local news streams from fourth to first against the competition in their markets in two short years. The three pillars for CBS News 24/7 are: relying on our iconic shows and talent, winning breaking news and optimizing programming. As linear television continues its rapid decline, other news organizations have also made big moves into streaming. What do you believe makes CBS News’ application to space unique?

CBS was the first network to launch a streaming channel …. So, we benefit from being the first mover. Fast forward to today, what helps CBS News and Stations stand out is the quality of journalism we produce and the way our network and local teams work together like never before …. We combine the newsgathering and speed of our local team with the national scale and depth to serve across America.

It’s been a brutal few months for those working in the news industry, with too many layoffs to count. When do you think this rapidly changing business model will find some stability?

There are many changes happening in our industry right now, and many companies are looking for ways to innovate and grow. What I tell our team is the only constant is change, and we must adapt and embrace change.

You launched a show called “CBS News Confirmed.” This program aims to address misinformation. What made you put more resources behind this and do you think, as an industry, the press has done enough to combat conspiracy theories and debunk misinformation outright?

I can only speak for CBS News, and I know in this organization, trust is our currency. The sheer scale of false information and misinformation out there and the speed at which it spreads is quite staggering.

What is the biggest threat to journalism in America, as you see it?

Misinformation, deep falsification and misinformation are all very real threats. That’s why we started and invested heavily in CBS News Confirmed.

You opened news hubs in cities throughout the South and Midwest. Can you tell us more about this hub and why you believe it is important to invest resources to establish a presence in this particular area?

The plans we’re announcing today include introducing and embedding multi-skilled journalists in key cities where we can really tap into communities and feature the voices and perspectives of people we might otherwise not hear. This news hub will help us as a whole respond to stories faster during breaking news simply because we’ll have people there. Our national movement of community journalism is in response to population shifts across the country, and it’s an extension of what we’re doing at CBS Stations to make neighborhoods

an as a newsroom. And with the election coming up, I can’t think of a better time to do this.

Why do you believe journalism has a bright future, despite the huge challenges the industry faces?

At our town hall meeting today, I said journalism matters — and it will continue to matter. … There will always be a need for fact-based independent reporting.

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