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How CBS News is trying to reinvent itself

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Everett Toliver
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The CBS Broadcast Center, nestled a block from the Hudson River in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, is home to several venerable news institutions including “60 Minutes” and “CBS Evening News.” But on the building’s second floor, a digital upstart has been trying to do something new within the confines of a decades-old news institution: Build an always-on news brand that doesn’t fall into the trappings of endless cable news shout-a-thons on one end and cheap, forgettable social news clips on the other.

In the fall of 2014, CBS launched CBSN, a 24-hour streaming news channel available for free online and across all manner of smartphones, tablets and connected TV screens.

Described by a CBS source as a “child” under the joint custody of CBS Interactive and CBS News, CBSN programs 15 hours or more of live-streaming news every day, including simulcasts of major CBS News programs such as “CBS This Morning,” “Face the Nation,” “60 Minutes” and “CBS Evening News.”

CBSN is no small operation, with as many as 250 people from across CBS News Digital and CBS Interactive working on CBSN in some capacity.

Going forward, the plan is to “take some of the success and reinvest it” into the business, according to Christy Tanner, svp and gm of CBS News Digital for CBS Interactive.

This includes putting money and resources toward new content, distribution partnerships and editorial products, which will often involve working in tandem with other departments in the broader CBS portfolio — a testament to how much CBS higher-ups value CBSN.

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Everett Toliver
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