NBC News Signal Slowly Ramps Up Streaming Network

NBC News says its streaming video news service, to be called NBC News Signal, will have a full 24/7 daily schedule by mid-2019.

For now, the company is proceeding slowly.

Signal’s first evening news show will be anchored by Simone Boyce. The show will air on Thursdays at 7 p.m. until later this year, when it shifts to a Monday-Friday schedule. NBC News Signal will add a morning show and afternoon program in the coming weeks as well, as will hourly news updates called “Briefly’s.”

In addition, Steve Kornacki’s “218: The Race For The House,” will air daily at noon through the midterm elections, while MSNBC anchor Katy Tur will anchor a special two-hour program on midterm Election Day from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The company has quietly been testing programming concepts over the last few months on its website and apps, with more than 20 different shows having aired. Some of those programs and anchors will make their way to the final product.

The service will be ad-supported, though at launch, it expects few, if any ads. More expansive ads and sponsorships will come later in the year and in early 2019, as the service ramps up its programming.

NBC News Signal will launch on NBCNews.com, NBC News’ OTT and mobile apps, Pluto TV, YouTube, and Twitter at launch, with other platforms to follow.

In a statement to Digital News Daily, Nick Ascheim, NBC News Group senior vice president, digital, says the goal with Signal is to reach younger consumers that aren't watching TV through traditional linear channels, but still want to stay informed.

“There is a growing segment of people who have cut the cord or have never had a cable subscription, but who are just as hungry for smart news as the prior generations of news watchers, who have consumed NBC News for decades,” Ascheim says. “These consumers, up-to-date on the headlines, are seeking a deeper understanding of the news of the moment.

"They are increasingly turning to OTT devices for ‘lean back’ news consumption or an on-the-go informative experience. And that’s exactly what NBC News Signal will deliver.”

NBC News Signal is similar to CBSN, the free streaming service launched by CBS News in 2014 (also around the midterm elections). 

NBC News, like CBS News, will use anchors, correspondents and segments from the larger news gathering operation to fill the streaming network’s content funnel.

Streaming news can be a viable business. CBSN became profitable in around 18 months, CBS News Digital GM Christy Tanner said at the NAB Show New York last week. 

ABC News also has a streaming news service, ABC News Live, though it focuses more on coverage of live events, rather than formal anchored news programs.

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