The new CBS Evening News With Katie Couric will be simulcast live on the Internet every evening, starting with its premiere Sept. 5. The move, announced this morning, makes CBS News the first of the network newscasts to use the Internet for simultaneous transmission of the news.
CBS, with the oldest viewership of all the networks, and with the lowest-rated evening news, hopes Couric will help lower the demographic; moving the news to the Internet would likely help overall. CBS News President Sean McManus, in a statement, called it "a groundbreaking development in making the program available to the largest possible audience."
The simultaneous news streaming is one fruit borne out of the agreement that CBS hammered out with its affiliates in June to share the revenue from distributing content on digital platforms. CBS declines to give details on the deal’s terms, but stations will receive a cut of the revenue from such ad-supported streaming endeavors, including incentives for driving traffic to CBS’ Website.
For now, the affiliates will not be able to stream the Evening News themselves but rather link to CBS’ main site, where the news will run.
CBS is further bolstering its Evening News on the Web with Couric & Company, a blog; Eye to Eye, a daily, five-minute, afternoon on-demand Web/iTunes program with extended interviews hosted by Couric; CBS News First Look With Katie Couric, a weekday, early-afternoon ,on-demand Web program previewing the nightly newscast; and Katie Couric’s Notebook, a minute-long Web/iTunes podcast in which Couric reports on a top issue.
Neither NBC nor ABC simultaneous streams their nightly newscasts online, although each posts the programs after they run. Both networks also offer Web-only news programs.
NBC streams a free, ad-supported its Nightly News With Brian Williams after 10 p.m. ET. and offers a free, daily, Web-exclusive newscast, The Early Nightly.
ABC offers World News With Charles Gibson newscastsat 6 a.m. the next day as part of a $4.95 subscription package. The network, since January 2006, has also produced a unique World News Webcast for the Internet. In June, that Webcast was downloaded 7.6 million times on ABCnews.com and iTunes, ABC says.
CBS decided to stream the audience simultaneously to both offer more robust news programming to its web audience – some 15 years younger than its TV audience – and to hopefully lure them to watch TV news when they are at home, says CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer.
“We totally believe this is an additive audience,” Kramer says. “Anybody who can watch the news from start to finish at home on a 50-inch screen is going to do that, but a growing proportion of the population isn’t home to watch the evening news. The web audience is younger and we can build younger viewers into the evening news. When they’re exposed to it, they will appreciate it and they will watch it when they’re at home.”
Streaming the full newscast simultaneously online, Kramer says, will give younger consumers access to contextualized reporting when it’s most valuable – the minute it is being reported – even if they are not home to watch it.
“We believe there is a hunger for context,” he says. “News and this broadcast have short shelf lives by nature. Putting up a broadcast like this four to five hours later isn’t going to have near the same attraction it does when it’s live because things change in news.
“This is really a unique opportunity to take the audience already coming to our Website for the timeliness of our news to also understand the timeliness of our commentary and our context. The value of this broadcast is at its highest peak when it’s being broadcast and that’s what we wanted to give our Web audience, too.”
ABC has no plans right now to simultaneously stream its newscast, viewing its online audience as having separate viewing habits and desires from those who watch news on TV, says World News executive producer Jon Banner.
“We have taken the approach that the online audience is different form the audience that is watching the broadcast at 6:30,” he says. “They’re looking for different content presented in a different manner. To us, just putting World News online is not as appealing as creating distinct or unique content the way we have with our Webcast.”