Will Customers Pay For Additional Streaming Cable News Services?

An interesting question was posed by The New York Times this week -- which might be extrapolated to all TV news operations: Can CNN+ get people to pay for TV news?”

Well, of course, consumers pay for TV news now -- bundled into their overall network packages from traditional pay TV services ( cable, satellite, or telco), virtual pay TV providers, or by way of streaming distribution companies, such as Roku. Revenue for legacy TV news networks also comes from carriage fees, as well as from advertising revenues.

The big gamble are new operations, such as the forthcoming CNN+, and the 3-year-old Fox Nation. They are betting modern TV viewers, so enthralled with news content, will pay for a streaming news service, just as they do with entertainment streaming platforms.

At the moment, other competitors have different perspectives.

For example, NBCUniversal’s NBC News Now, which started in 2019, is a free service. CBSN, now called CBS News Streaming Network, around since 2014, is also free.



Oher more magazine-like stories can be found on NBCU’s all-encompassing Peacock service. The same is true for ViacomCBS’ Paramount+.

Fox Nation has the most history currently in terms of getting paid for streaming news content -- at a not-so-cheap $6 a month. Fox Corp. hasn’t disclosed how many subscribers to date.

By way of comparison to Fox Nation’s $6.99 price tag, Apple TV+ is $4.99; discovery+ also has a starting price at $4.99. CNN+, which launches this year, has yet to disclose pricing.

The bottom line is that the most successful premium streaming services -- in terms of revenue -- are focused on entertainment/nonscripted content. And that’s why they can charge monthly fees.

In part, it may not be just about subscribers. The financial model for paid TV news streaming efforts also includes advertising revenue -- which goes hand-in-hand with live content. That will be a key difference between these efforts and other streaming services.

Many consumers may feel they can get news content “free of charge,”  or at least the appearance of free, in whatever services they have. So how to encourage another purchase?

New “magazine” type news shows and talent are obvious answers. Also, some marketing spin promoting that news programming could help, as mostly “live” content carries a higher value at times than “on-demand” content.

More importantly, what specific hungrier TV “news” consumers are they really looking for?

1 comment about "Will Customers Pay For Additional Streaming Cable News Services?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 31, 2022 at 12:34 p.m.

    You raise a good question, Wayne. I tend to doubt that many people will be willing to pay for streaming news coverage as they are used to getting it for free---even though they do pay --but indirectly---for watching "linear TV" news. Also,  the claim is made that streaming offers the news folks a way to target younger audiences,  but this, too, is dubious as young adults are very infrequent TV news viewers ---even when it's free. What's more, most streamers continue to have access to TV news via "pay TV" and over-the-air reception. If they are so interested why aren't they gorging themselves on the available national and local news reports now?

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