The Independent is joining TV networks in the on-demand video market. The UK newspaper is launching its own video streaming service, competing with the premium offerings being developed by one-time linear TV companies. CNN and NBC, both on a hiring spree, hope to head off competition and exploit growing demand for premium video with their own streaming services.
- The Independent’s TV hub, already a dedicated section on the UK newspaper’s website, is set to have its own app and a greater variety of programming. The planned expansion signals a move to develop an on-demand video streaming service. MD Christian Broughton says it is the beginning of a journey that will lead to its video offering equating to a “full-on TV” experience.
- Independent TV, launched last year, has exceeded all performance expectations. Video views grew 40%, month-on-month, over the first six months of operation and revenue is forecast to double, year-on-year. One program, ‘Binge or Bin’, drew a quarter of a million views in its first week.
- The Independent still distributes video on third-party platforms including YouTube and Facebook, but developing a critical mass of video on the website acts as “a gravitational force at the center,” says Broughton. This effect has been strengthened by refinements made to the site’s ‘Next Vid’ recommendation feature, which has kept most users watching more than one video, keeping them on the site longer.
Broadcasters develop streaming services
- The number of people in the US who have ‘cut the cord’ on their cable subscriptions has more than tripled since 2014, up from about 15 million to a projected 50 million in 2021. This, with the seemingly unstoppable growth in the popularity of video streaming services like Netflix, has forced established broadcasters to consider parallel subscription services.
- CNN has announced that it is to hire 450 people to support the development of ‘dozens of programs’ for its CNN+ subscription streaming service, set to launch early in 2022. The new service will sit alongside CNN’s existing networks and feature up to 12 hours of live programming every day.
- The launch has been described as the most important since Ted Turner founded the network in June of 1980. “CNN invented cable news in 1980, defined online news in 1995 and now is taking an important step in expanding what news can be by launching a direct-to-consumer streaming subscription service in 2022,” said president of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker.
In a similar move NBCU News Group is adding hundreds of positions in its digital arm to support the network’s biggest investment in streaming and digital products.
- The company is adding several new hours of original programming to the NBC News NOW streaming service. “As more consumption shifts to streaming, it’s only natural that we shift more of our attention and resources to serving that audience,” says Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News.
- NBC News NOW averages more than 44 million views and 14 million hours watched per month. Unlike CNN+ NBC has no plans to put NBC News Now or TODAY All Day behind a paywall. “The north star for us is in time spent,” says Chris Berend, EVP of Digital for NBCU News Group.