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3 webs team on newsvid

News service targeting CNN

NEW YORK — ABC, CBS and Fox announced plans Monday to form Network News Service, a domestic news cooperative that will provide video to member affiliates.

NNS, which will collect video from affiliates of all three news services, the three network newsgathering units and other sources, could be up and running as early as first quarter 2000.

Meanwhile, ABC NewsOne, CBS Newspath and Fox News Edge will continue to operate independently as each network’s own affiliate news service. Participating affils will also be guaranteed exclusivity of their material in their own market.

NBC was not invited to participate in the news cooperative. “We found it curious that we were not approached,” said a spokeswoman for NBC News. But a CBS News spokeswoman said that NNS is nonexclusive and would be open to new partners such as NBC.

Help in competing

NNS will help the three participating broadcast nets compete with cable news giant CNN when it comes to providing video to affiliate news departments. By having multiple affils in each market, CNN Newsource virtually guarantees stations video of breaking news events.

“NNS will be particularly important to breaking news coverage,” said Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO, Fox News. “It will dramatically enhance the ability of each network news service to cover breaking stories by offering more than one source of video.”

Separate but equal

The three news orgs will be equal partners in NNS and will contribute people, money and facilities to the venture. The companies declined to comment more specifically on the financial details of the deal.

The senior execs of all three news organizations will manage NNS, which will be located in the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. A search is currently under way for a top exec to oversee NNS.

Separately, CBS Newspath announced Monday that it will implement a major expansion of exclusive services in 2000, including the development of the CBS HealthWatch medical franchise and expansion of the CBS MarketWatch business franchise.

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