CBS News is reportedly in talks with distributors about creating a 24-hour digital video news service. According to an exclusive report by Buzzfeed, the new programming service would be distributed on cellphones, tablets, game consoles and over-the-top TV distribution systems.
"The news and interactive divisions of CBS have been quietly developing a digital video service that continually streams content 24 hours a day and leverages reporting from its existing news staff and content from the broadcaster’s archives onto new distribution platforms, according to two sources close to the situation," the story reports.
The report adds: "These sources said CBS is currently in talks with distribution companies to carry the service, though no deals have been signed and an official launch date is still several months away at the earliest."
CBS News President David Rhodes is reportedly a strong advocate of the project.
Rhodes "has developed a close relationship with CBS Interactive President Jim Lanzone since both joined the company within a month of each other in 2011," the report notes. "Sources said Rhodes sees the product as a digital cable news channel that in essence would make up for the company’s lack of an actual cable television news outlet."
CBS News has been at something of a disadvantage against NBC and Fox, which both have sister cable news networks, the piece notes.
"Not only do NBC and Fox get funding through advertising on their broadcast networks to support their news operations, but also through the hefty carriage and advertising fees collected by MSNBC/CNBC and Fox News/Fox Business, respectively," the story reports.
One of the sources is quoted in the story saying: “You’ve heard people say that this is the golden age of TV, but that primarily refers to the entertainment side. [Rhodes] thinks news should be a part of that golden age and be available to stream on devices just like entertainment content.”
The report adds: "According to both sources, that means having CBS News content available as a standalone product for streaming for smartphones and tablets, on game consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s Playstation, on over-the-top TV distribution services such as Roku or Apple TV, and on online video platforms like Hulu Plus or YouTube, for instance. The service under development would be separate and distinct from both other CBS News-branded and show-specific (i.e., ’60 Minutes’) websites and apps."
CBS may partner with an exclusive distributor for the initial launch, the report notes, but ultimately the company wants to achieve the broadest distribution possible.
The story adds: "Calls for comment to CBS News and CBS Interactive were referred to a corporate representative who said only, ‘There are all kinds of exciting opportunities offered by new platforms, and we intend to keep pursuing them. We are currently talking to a number of partners along these lines, but beyond that, decline to comment at this time.’”