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CBS News In Early Stages of Preparing Streaming-Video News Service

Who needs a cable-news network when the digital ether beckons? BuzzFeed report has Eye casting about for distribution of CBS News content via non-traditional outlets

CBS News is developing a news service that would put content from the unit’s various journalists on a range of non-traditional video venues, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.

According to this person, any possible launch of the service is probably several months away. Word of the emerging service was reported previously by BuzzFeed.

CBS News, home to “60 Minutes,” “Face the Nation” and “The CBS Evening News,” among other programs,  is currently in talks with a range of potential distributors of its content,  the BuzzFeed report stated, which could surface in venues such as streaming-video hubs, game consoles and over-the-top video distributors. The service would potentially let CBS News monetize its information-gathering  assets without having to invest in a cable-news outlet such as NBCUniversal’s MSNBC or ABC News and Univision’s Fusion to gain more traction among consumers. At present, no distribution agreements have been completed, BuzzFeed said.

“There are all kinds of exciting opportunities offered by new platforms, and we intend to keep pursuing them,” CBS said in a statement, echoing one provided to BuzzFeed. “We are currently talking to a number of partners along these lines, but beyond that, decline to comment at this time.”

Development of the service highlights the challenge TV-news outlets face in dealing with a viewership base that is making increasing use of mobile technology to get information. Indeed, Pew Research data shows that “between 2010 and 2012, the number of U.S. adults who said they watched cable news regularly fell 5 percentage points, from 39% to 34%. Meanwhile, the percentage of people who said they got news regularly from social networks rose 13 points to 20%, and those who got news regularly from a mobile device rose 6 points to 15%”

CNN has unveiled plans to emphasize mobile delivery, while Disney’s ABC News has a longstanding agreement with Yahoo that puts ABC News content in front of digerati. CBS News, which is part of a company that has become the flag-bearer for the power of broadcast television, is following a new generation of viewers that make use of other screens as much as the do the one belonging to the TV set.

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