Media Insider: CBS Launches Sports News Network, LittleThings Shuts Down, Facebook Dominates the News

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

CBS News Corporation

Source: PRNewsFoto/CBS

CBS Launches a 24/7 Streaming Sports News Network, CBS Sports HQ

As promised last year, CBS launched this week a digital sports news network called CBS Sports HQ. The free service features 24-hour streaming coverage of news, highlights, and analysis online — via connected devices, and within the company’s over-the-top streaming service, CBS All Access. According to TechCrunch, The new sports network will take advantage of resources CBS already has in place, like CBS Sports,, 247Sports, SportsLine, CBS Sports Fantasy, and MaxPreps. It will combine live news and reporting with game previews, post-game analysis, highlights, projects, and statistical breakdowns. A DVR-like feature will also allow viewers to go back and watch previously recorded segments.

Meanwhile, ESPN is launching its own standalone streaming service this spring as part of a new app.

LittleThings Shuts Down, a Victim of Facebook’s Algorithm Changes

Four-year-old video content producer LittleThings is turning off the lights for good, and it’s placing the blame on Facebook’s shoulders. “The Facebook algorithm [change] hit us really hard,” COO Gretchen Tibbits told Adweek. “It’s reduced our traffic to a non-sustainable level.” The company, which depended on social media for distributions, becomes the first high-profile casualty of Facebook’s recent decision to move away from showing its users businesses and brands, and instead highlight posts from friends and family.

Facebook recently noted that use of its service dropped by roughly 50 million hours every day since the changes went into effect.

CNN Boss Jeff Zucker Calls on Regulators to Probe Google, Facebook

CNN’s Jeff Zucker is calling upon advertisers and tech firms to help find new ways to monetize news content on mobile platforms, as news providers try to adapt to the changing digital landscape. “In a Google and Facebook world, monetization of digital and mobile continues to be more difficult than we would have expected or liked,” Zucker said in a keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona,. The CNN boss added that with regulators scrutinizing media mega-mergers, closer attention should be paid to the power of Google and Facebook — which he referred to as monopolies. “That’s where the government should be looking, and helping to make sure everyone else survives,” Zucker said. “I think that’s probably the biggest issue facing the growth of journalism in the years ahead.”

In more Google news, Germany’s highest court just ruled in Google’s favor in the “right to be forgotten” case.

Facebook to Launch Local News Subscription Accelerator

The Facebook Journalism Project announced the launch of its Local News Subscriptions Accelerator, a $3 million, three-month pilot program in the U.S. to help metro newspapers beef up their digital subscription efforts. The Accelerator will work with 10 to 15 metro news organizations — including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Denver Post — to unlock strategies that help publishers build digital customer acquisitions on and off Facebook. According to Axios, Tim Griggs, a former New York Times executive and leading digital media consultant, will helm the program’s curriculum. It will focus on understanding digital audiences and building marketing plans for digital subscriber acquisition.

This comes on the heels of Facebook changing its News Feed to focus more on local news.

Like the Changing of the Seasons, Publishers (Again) Turn to Micropayments

With digital ad revenue harder to come by, a growing number of publishers are considering micropayments again, albeit from different angles. In the past several months, a slew of micropayment-focused startups — including Scroll, Invisibly, and the Brave browser — have all been leading charm offensives on publishers, who have been mostly receptive. Scroll has gotten subscription-focused news publishers like Gannett and The New York Times, as well as digital natives including Slate and Fusion Media Group, to commit to yearlong tests. Invisibly says 73 percent of the U.S. publishers tracked by comScore have verbally committed to testing their product when it launches late 2018. Although micropayments haven’t worked in the past, this new crop of companies vow to solve previous hurdles, such as ad-blocking, lousy user experience, and low revenue per user. And the solutions, where the nitty-gritty of micropayment is hidden from audience view, look novel enough to hold promise, reports Digiday.

More publishers are also adopting social network strategies to battle ad blockers.

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Maria Perez is Director of Audience Website Operations with PR Newswire. An animal lover, she curates content for @PRNPets – that is, when she’s not busy cuddling with her 10-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.

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