All Live TV News On Streaming? I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet

Know this. If Warner Bros. Discovery puts all live CNN on streamer Max -- and gets away with it -- all hell will break loose, in an environment where there is already lots of heat.

For competitive reasons, TV Watch believes that NBC will test the waters further by placing all of MSNBC on Peacock. NBC already airs on-demand MSNBC content and one live show, “Morning Joe," on Peacock.

NBC also has NBC News Now content on Peacock. Fox News Channel is also expected to become a bigger part of streamer Fox Nation.

Cable TV news has been a major part of cable TV viewership -- along with sports.



With regard to the latter, now add in that ESPN+ might be spun off as a separate company, which means it is only a matter of time before live linear ESPN becomes a part of that platform. 

This will make those remaining legacy pay TV platforms -- cable, satellite, telco, and virtual -- feel the tremors of a coming earthquake, something that has been expected for some time.

Why hasn't this been done before? Existing exclusivity deals with distribution. To date, no legacy live, linear cable TV news networks are part of any streaming service. 

Legacy pay TV platforms -- cable, satellite, telco, and virtual services -- would put their foot down and say this voids contracts and their exclusive TV news content in their markets. 

So what are Warner Bros Discovery and CNN in talks about? Probably compensation. If those cable operators and the like can get paid something to give up all or part of their exclusivity -- either through an ad-share agreement or a streaming distribution revenue-share arrangement -- they will, in theory, buy in.

Still, the negotiation and talks will bring up the obvious -- a bigger wave of massive disruption is coming to the legacy pay TV system and cannot be stopped. In that regard, your friendly cable operator might want to take advantage of a revenue-share offer while it transitions to other businesses.

Comcast and Charter are thinking along these lines. They are now working together on a nascent streaming platform, based on the Xumo platform -- a Roku, Amazon Fire TV wannabe -- announced last November.

What remains? Take live news and live sports from cable systems and you're left with lots of entertainment -- scripted and unscripted -- that is already available on streaming platforms. Guess what happens to those steep cord-cutting numbers? Think free fall.

Major cable linear TV networks brands on media companies' direct-to-consumer (D2C) platforms will be big breaking news for consumers.

4 comments about "All Live TV News On Streaming? I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 5, 2023 at 6:07 p.m.

    Wayne, I'm  not sure that I get why a broadcast TV network which owns a cable news channel ---like MSNBC---would be upending it's linear TV operation by doing putting the latter's content on its streaming venues.

    Here's why. What we are fast heading for is a time when most linear TV programs---especially news---national and local---but also other types---sports, prime time dramas, sitcoms, reality fare, newsmags, game shows, specials  etc. are offered "live" on both linear and streaming platforms. Of course, this will erode the linear side's ratings---but that's my point---there will be no "linear side" nor a "streaming side"---it will all be "TV".

    So when the network that owns that cable news channel offers its content to streaming as well as cable viewers it will sell ad time as if it was doing so on a single platform, tot up the Nielsens and meet its combined platform audience guarantees to advertisers.The same approach will be used for new primetime drama series  or any other programs. They will be funded in the light of combined ad sales expectations on both platfoms, plus whatever subscriber incomes are also fortthcoming. It won't matter exactly how many viewers were reached by advertisers among "pay TV" subscribers or those who see the shows on AVOD or FAST services. For the first time we will see unified all-platform program planning---and the same for TV time buying/selling.

  2. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, July 6, 2023 at 12:18 a.m.

    Some fairly complex economics seem to be involved. The benefits for the ad/buy-side are pretty evident, but what about those business models that have grown to rely on revenues from carriage fees?  Plus, consumers are already hyper-sensitive to increasing subscription costs for both cable and streaming. Will cord-cutting rates escalate?

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 6, 2023 at 7:10 a.m.

    James, in this case, all that the big TV networks would be doing is following the viewing to streaming  with the same kinds of content---news, plus, inevitably, all other types of linear programming----in order to monetize the lost viewing in part by ad revenues. It doesn't matter whether cord cutting is increased as that simply means more viewing "impressions" to sell to advertisrs via streaming---with the same kinds of programs---especially news---that the advertisers wish to be associated with.

    The same idea applies to sports---when the networks and leagues figure out the best way to do it so the games plus attendant talking head shows appear "live" on both platforms. Again the networks will be following the slow but steady  migration of households away from cable and attempting to monetize them where they land. Of course, retransmission fees for linear may be lowered but this can be offset by subscription fees for AVOD services plus higher CPMs in streaming.

  4. Michael Greeson from Aluma Insights, July 6, 2023 at 5:14 p.m.

    I'm not sure I get why a broadcast TV network that owns a cable news channel ---like MSNBC---would be upending linear TV operation by putting the latter's content on its streaming venues.

    I agree, Ed. By itself, adding a live cable TV news network to a network's D2C streaming service will not in and of itself upend its linear TV operation. But it will diminish the necessity of paying for an MVPD in order to get that content. More important is when high-value sports traditionally available only on broadcast/cable networks are added to a D2C SVOD offering (e.g., NFL games on ESPN available live on Disney's streaming services). That will do significant damage to the MVPD value proposition. ESPN could be the first major test case, but we'll see if the rumors ring true. 

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