CBS is today debuting a new portfolio of streaming services designed to deliver local news to cord cutters and other digital media consumers. The services, branded CBSN Local, will live under the CBSN brand – the 24/7 news channel first launched in November 2014 that made its way to the CBS All Access streaming service last August. And like CBSN, CBSN Local’s coverage will also become a part of CBS All Access in the future, the company says.
CBSN Local is essentially a way to bring local news from CBS stations to the streaming TV audience. The content offered will include anchored news broadcasts airing in the morning, daytime and evening, plus breaking live news events from CBS-owned TV stations in major U.S. markets.
Each of the CBSN Local services will also offer additional daily newscasts that are produced exclusively for CBSN Local, as well as content that’s available for on-demand viewing. All content will be led by anchors and reporters at CBS TV stations.
Not all CBS-owned stations are coming online with their local news coverage at launch. Instead, the company will be gradually adding stations in key markets throughout 2018 and beyond. The first station to join CBSN Local is New York City’s WCBS, the flagship station of the CBS TV Network. This will be followed by independent sister station WLNY in Q4 2018, then L.A.’s KCBS and KCAL, and others.
CBSN Local’s news coverage will then be delivered to consumers across CBS digital platforms, including CBSN on CBSNews.com, the CBS News app for mobile and connected TVs, and through CBS TV stations’ own websites and apps.
The service joins CBS’s growing streaming lineup which includes not only CBSN, but also CBS’s more recently launched streaming sports news service, CBS Sports HQ, and its direct-to-consumer offering, CBS All Access.
And while no specific timeframe was offered, CBS says the suite of local streams will “ultimately” be included as live channels in CBS All Access in their respective markets.
Making local news available to CBS All Access could be another draw for cord cutters, who often find it difficult to watch their hometown news after they cut the cord with traditional pay TV. Not everyone wants to fuss with a digital antenna, after all. And not everyone lives in an area where there’s good reception for over-the-air signals, either.
CBS All Access and Showtime combined have around 5.2 to 5.3 million subscribers, CBS said during its earnings. The company has been doubling down on what it believes is working – namely, its investment in original programming, including the new “Star Trek” franchise. The company said in June it would be expanding that universe with new shows, miniseries, and animation over the next few years.