Beachfront - leaderboard - 7-1-18

Analysis for 'E.W. Scripps'

  • Turning the Tables, Newsy Pursues Pay-TV Distribution With RLTV Deal

    Here’s a somewhat counter-intuitive move: Newsy, a millennial-focused OTT news property, is buying the pay-TV carriage agreements of Retirement Living Television covering around 26 million multichannel TV subscribers in order to get a position on the cable dial. The deal will cost Newsy’s owner E.W. Scripps approximately $23 million, or 93 cents per RLTV subscriber. Newsy also expects to get to 40 million pay-TV subscribers by the end of 2018.

    The deal is predicated on developing Newsy into a “prominent multi-platform news network with dual revenue streams,” according to Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson. Newsy already has carriage deals with skinny bundles YouTube TV and Sling TV and clearly believes it can extend its audience reach and advertising potential by being available in multichannel bundles. Scripps also sees Newsy’s programming as helping pay-TV operators appeal to younger audiences.

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  • Free, Short-Form Mobile Video News is Becoming a Hot Area for Established Media Companies

    Free, short-form mobile video news is becoming a hot area of focus for established media companies. The latest evidence is this morning's announcement by NBCUniversal News Group of a minority investment in NowThis News as part of a broader content development collaboration involving all of NBC's news brands.

    The investment follows the December acquisition of leading short-form mobile video news creator Newsy by E.W. Scripps for $35 million. That deal followed the launch by the New York Times, in late November, of the "New York Times Minute," a 3 times per day 1 minute video compilation of 3 top news stories of the moment which itself came on top of many other new video offerings from the Times. Meanwhile, in late December News Corp. acquired Storyful for $25 million to accelerate the use of short user-generated video in its and others' reporting.

    And all of these follow numerous clip-oriented video news initiatives by a wide range of established and earlier-stage news organizations across both general and vertical subject areas (e.g. sports, entertainment, travel, etc.).

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  • E.W. Scripps Acquires Newsy, A Short-Form Video News Creator, for $35 Million

    Newsy, which creates short-form video news segments that are syndicated to major third-party online publishers, has been acquired by E.W. Scripps for $35 million in cash. According to the announcement, Scripps was attracted to Newsy for its approach to curating news, its national brand, potential to enhance content from Scripps' 17 local TV stations and the growth potential of online video. Newsy will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary in Columbia, MO.

    I've been a big Newsy fan and recently met up with its CEO and founder Jim Spencer and VP of Marketing Alexandra Wharton. Newsy has a very interesting approach to creating original content, but not doing original reporting. That means it doesn't send reporters out to the field, but rather curates the best video and text news from multiple sources, writes its own scripts and creates its own graphics, capturing the essence of stories in under 2 minutes. All underlying sources are clearly identified and have links back to them.

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  • Broadcasters' New Mobile DTV Joint Venture Offers Potential

    One of the more interesting things coming out of the NAB Show this week was the announcement by a dozen local TV station groups of a new mobile direct TV content service intended to reach 150 million Americans. The service, which is still unnamed, is backed by Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps, Fox, Gannett, Hearst, ION, Media General, Meredith, NBC, Post-Newsweek and Raycom. No details on programming were revealed except to saying local and national news, sports and entertainment would be included.

    For the last several years, it's felt as if local broadcasters have been on the short end as online and mobile delivery have gained steam. One looming threat has been from broadcast network partners, who have increasingly embraced online distribution, which threatens to shift audiences from consuming programs through local affiliates' stations to consuming at the networks' web sites and aggregators like Hulu.

    More recently, the FCC's  National Broadband Plan, with its "voluntary" spectrum reclamation would transfer valuable bandwidth to mobile carriers - a move that was quickly perceived as further marginalizing local broadcasters' role in the digital ecosystem. If this wasn't enough, the launch of Apple's iPad highlighted the growing role that consumer electronics devices - and the apps that are built for them - will play in empowering users to search and access content from many new sources, further fragmenting traditional broadcast audiences. All of this has unfolded against the recession's backdrop, which has suppressed consumer spending and local ad spending.

    Now, with the new joint venture, local broadcasters seem to have the beginnings of a cohesive plan to show that they too have an important place in the digital era. Throughout the NAB Show various industry executives repeated the mantra that local broadcasters play a vital role in news, weather and emergency information, a not-so-subtle reminder to policy-makers that broadcasters shouldn't be shunted aside in favor of shiny new gadgets.

    Still, it's early days for the venture and for mobile DTV in general. Next month a big DTV trial in Washington, DC is scheduled using the ATSC-M/H technical standard. The new JV doesn't have any agreements yet to put DTV tuners in handsets or with carriers for integration. Larger questions of governance still loom as well. Broad industry initiatives like this often suffer from members' differing goals, tactics and motivations. An even larger question is consumers' desire for the mobile DTV format. With countless viewing options already, and more coming every day, local stations' DTV efforts will be in a competitive battle for attention.

    Big questions remain about what the new JV's ultimate impact will be, but at a minimum it at least appears to show that local broadcasters are getting serious about how they fit into the digital video ecosystem.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required). 

     
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