One of the big media stories of 2022 is the launch of CNN+. That story is about a legacy cable news channel (the OG cable news channel) taking its first big steps away from cable networks to go direct to consumer with streaming. Why is that a big deal? Simply, because news and sports are the backbone of the cable news business - make that content available elsewhere and the expensive cable TV product loses its remaining value proposition.
But CNN isn't the only major US news brand making the move to streaming this year. Overnight CBS revealed its plans for the already-known reboot of streaming news service CBSN.
Now rebranded as CBS News Streaming Network (a very sexy brand in the spirit of Mr Burns Casino), the streaming news channel will be supercharged with higher profile talent and big branded shows, such as dusting off iconic titles like Person To Person (the Edward R. Murrow interview series, which will now be hosted by Norah O'Donnell) and topical documentary series CBS Reports hosted by Gayle King.
With the influx of new shows, CBS News Streaming Network is starting to look and feel like a fairly robust streaming cable news channel. A highly traditional-looking service that appears to be a lifeboat for the analog CBS News products.
CBS Sunday Morning will get a streaming presence through a series called Here Comes The Sun. Other series include Eye On America, led by CBS Saturday Morning anchor Michelle Miller, The Uplift, hosted by CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil, On The Road with Steve Hartmann, which will take the recurring TV segment and turn it into a regular series, The Dish, which is a streaming adaptation of CBS Saturday Morning‘s cooking segments, Climate Watch, and Moneywatch.
But... is that what audiences actually want?
CNN+ seems to be taking a different route. What is interesting about the programs launched by CNN+ is that it is maintaining the infrastructure of the pre-existing linear news service, but announced programming is less like a TV network and sounds more like a channel of video podcasts. Anderson Cooper hosting a parenting show, known podcaster Scott Galloway presenting a weekly show on the intersection of business and technology, former NBA player and podcaster Rex Chapman with a show about inspiring sports stars, etc.
CNN's approach here is, in part, because it can't just replicate its existing linear channel for fear of upsetting cable networks (there's still money in them thar hills). But also, CNN recognises that linear news isn't what people will sign up for. To get a subscriber to pay $5-12 a month for a streaming service, it needs to feel more valuable than just an endless stream of panel talking heads. Shows need to feel more substantial. So the CNN digital play is to mix news programs and linear breaking news coverage with specialty niche programs.
Keep that in mind as we consider today's CNN+ news...
Jake Tapper's Book Club. The CNN host, himself the author of five books, will host a book club show for CNN+. The description of the show sounds like exactly what it says on the tin. Tapper will host a book club, which, to me, sounds every bit like the podcast that Tapper has always wanted to host...
- ViacomCBS has abandoned plans to rebrand cable network Paramount Channel as Paramount Movie Channel and launch a weekly original movie every week. Read: Deadline
- When journalists cover the Winter Olympics in China, they are planning to leave all of their brand new hardware behind over concerns the equipment may be bugged. Read: The Washington Post
- When NBC Lost-wannabe La Brea season 2 returns to Melbourne, Australia to film, it is expected to add $118 million into the local economy. Read: Variety
- Always Be Watching is always very supportive of efforts to get kids reading - there are five new Doctor Who novels on the way from current and past writers on the show. Read: Radio Times
- A four-hour cut of The Batman was screened to test audiences, with the finished film excising approx an hour of that footage. Read: Heat Vision
- Australian pubcaster SBS has cancelled its in-person upfronts scheduled for Feb 16 due to the omicron variant. Instead it will send a media release the next week on Feb 21. I ask: Why delay the sending of the media release by a week? And why not hold the upfronts virtually with a video presentation? That media release is going to be read by practically no one (it'll be skimmed, at best). Read: TV Tonight
Love Is Blind: Japan debuts on Netflix Feb 8.
Murderville debuts Feb 3 on Netflix.
Troppo debuts on Australia's ABC and ABC iView on Feb 27.
A second Guillermo del Toro movie in one year? His adaptation of Pinocchio debuts on Netflix in December.
Rabbids Invasion Special: Mission To Mars debuts on Netflix Feb 18. Do kids actually like Rabbids? Or is this a profitable marketing exercise still looking for an audience?
Doomlands debuts on The Roku Channel Jan 28.
The Millennial debuts on BET+ Jan 27.
That's it for today. The newsletter will be back again tomorrow.