For lovers of entertainment news, the future is bright.
Whether it is coverage of the royal family, a new movie, or the personal foibles of a Hollywood superstar, in the coming months consumers will be spoiled for choice, as OTT entertainment coverage picks up in a noticeable way.
While magazines like People and Us Weekly have long dominated the newsstands, and TV shows like “Entertainment Tonight” and “Access Hollywood” have taken viewers behind the scenes for years, streaming video presents new opportunities for consumers to get their Hollywood fix.
Those opportunities are also allowing the new and old world to merge in interesting ways, as two of the biggest bets in streaming entertainment news are coming from People magazine and “Entertainment Tonight.”
At the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s West Coast edition of the Newfronts, Meredith Corp. announced that its PeopleTV OTT network would expand to four live hours per day, starting in early 2019.
Both “People Now” and “Chatter” will be expanded as part of the deal, with additional coverage of red carpets and live events to follow.
Meanwhile, CBS is planning a new streaming network built around the “Entertainment Tonight” franchise. Dubbed ET Live, the service will launch later this year with multiple hours of live coverage each day. The service follows two other free streaming networks from CBS, CBSN, and CBS Sports HQ.
CBSN has become a feather in the cap for the broadcaster, with net programming added regularly. This week the show added a new 7 a.m. hour, putting the streaming news network in more direct competition with the CBS broadcast network, which has “CBS This Morning” starting at the same time.
ET Live is expected to follow the same formula as CBSN and CBS Sports HQ, with hosts discussing the news of the day, but with an entertainment focus.
Both PeopleTV and ET Live are free and ad-supported, with distribution not only through PCs and mobile devices, but on connected TV devices, to better enable background streaming while the viewer goes about their day.
In many ways the promulgation of streaming entertainment news is a fulfillment of the potential of OTT. Niches that were once restricted to a handful of popular magazines, or an hour a day on TV, can be expanded into full-blown multimedia properties. Super-fans that may not be into world news or sports have their own place to turn to bide time.
For marketers, they present new, brand-safe opportunities to reach consumers who may not be watching traditional linear TV.
Now, the only question is what other genres of programming will be next.