×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Newsy to Launch as Cable TV Channel After E.W. Scripps Buys RLTV Contracts

As traditional TV players keep hunting for new digital inroads, E.W. Scripps’ online news network Newsy is going the other way — it’s landing a spot on the cable TV dial.

E.W. Scripps has acquired carriage contracts from the Retirement Living Television (RLTV) cable network, covering about 26 million U.S. homes. RLTV will shut down this fall, to be replaced by Newsy’s 24-hour linear feed, with a mix of news and talk-show programming aimed at millennials.

Scripps could end up paying as much as $23 million, or up to 93 cents per subscriber, for the RLTV distribution agreements under the deal with RLTV founder John Erickson. The final purchase price is based on the number of subs that come under contract with cable operators — including Comcast, Charter Communications and Altice USA — as RLTV converts to Newsy.

“The reality is, pay TV is still where the money is,” said Adam Symson, president and CEO of E.W. Scripps. “The fact remains that 80% of Americans get their television through some version of pay television. For us to move [Newsy] from OTT into pay TV is part of our belief of how the TV ecosystem will evolve.”

The RLTV agreement is “an incredible deal,” Symson added, noting that comparable distribution-agreement pacts have averaged $4 per sub and as much as $12. The changeover from RLTV to Newsy will happen throughout the fall and into the fourth quarter.

Newsy’s flip to pay TV is not like Vice Media’s launch of Viceland, which involved a brand-new slate of programming. (Viceland took over the slots occupied by A+E Networks’ H2.) The Newsy cable-news network will comprise the same programming feed it already distributes on other over-the-top platforms, and through YouTube TV and Dish Network’s Sling TV.

“We don’t really see a difference between consumers who watch on OTT or on cable,” Symson said. “We have on-demand and linear regardless of the pipe that goes into the back of the TV.”

Scripps is in talks with other distributors to carry the Newsy channel, and Symson expects to expand its reach to about 40 million cable and satellite TV homes by the end of 2018. “I just don’t think these [pay-TV] incumbents are going to sit idly by while other companies try to eat their lunch,” he said. “I think it’s likely other [traditional TV operators] will launch outside their footprints. And Newsy will have contracts with them.”

E.W. Scripps acquired Newsy in 2013 for $35 million. The online news company was founded in 2008 by media consultant and exec Jim Spencer.

The company’s pitch to pay-TV operators is that Newsy fans skew young. For news networks like CNN and Fox News Channel, about 70% of the viewership is over 55. By contrast, about 70% of Newsy’s audience is 25-54, according to E.W. Scripps.

“We think the cable operators are going to need a younger product,” Symson said. “At the end of the day they recognize young people do have a thirst for news and information. But they also know the product lining their shelves doesn’t necessarily help them reach younger subscribers.”

Newsy will continue to offer free, ad-supported video clips on the web, mobile and social media. But to access the live channel and full original series, viewers must subscribe to Newsy through a pay-TV or OTT distributor.

As it gears up for its cable debut, Newsy has bowed evening newsmagazine “The Why” (pictured above), produced from its bureaus in Chicago and Washington, D.C. It also plans to soon launch morning show “The Day Ahead” and newsmaker spotlight program “30 Minutes With.” Based in Columbia, Mo., Newsy currently has a staff of 70. The expanded programming lineup “was anticipating our move into cable,” said Laura Tomlin, senior VP of national media at E.W. Scripps.

For E.W. Scripps, the move into cable with Newsy is a back-to-the-future moment. The company in 2008 spun off cable networks including HGTV and Food Network into Scripps Networks Interactive.

Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps owns 33 local TV stations and operates an investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C.; its other digital businesses include podcast ad network Midroll Media.

More TV

  • Jee Young Han

    NBC Comedy Pilot 'Like Magic' Casts Jee Young Han in Lead Role

    Jee Young Han has been cast in the lead role of the NBC single-camera comedy pilot “Like Magic,” Variety has learned. The project is a workplace comedy that follows an optimistic young woman (Jee) pursuing her dream to be a headlining magician in the eccentric and ego-driven world of the Magic Palace. Jee will play Holly. [...]

  • Sharon Case from The Young and

    NATAS Announces 2019 Daytime Emmys Pre-Nominations for Drama Performer Categories

    The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have announced the pre-nominations for all of the drama performer categories ahead of the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. “The Young and the Restless” lead the pre-nominations with 21 candidates, but “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” are close behind with 20 and 19 candidates, respectively. [...]

  • Childrens Hospital

    'Childrens Hospital' Team Reunites at Netflix for Comedy Series 'Medical Police'

    The team behind the Adult Swim series “Childrens Hospital” has come back together at Netflix. The streamer has ordered 10 thirty-minute episodes of a new scripted series called “Medical Police,” which is written and executive produced by Rob Corddry, Krister Johnson, Jonathan Stern, David Wain. In addition to his onscreen role, Corddry created “Childrens Hospital,” [...]

  • mike colter luke cage portrait

    'Luke Cage' Alum Mike Colter Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Evil'

    Mike Colter has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Evil” from Robert and Michelle King, Variety has learned. Colter will play David DaCosta, a Catholic priest in training, tasked by the Church to assess unexplained phenomena to see if there is a supernatural or scientific explanation. He joins previously announced [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • man-in-the-high-castle-season-two-rufus-sewell-amazon

    Amazon's 'The Man in the High Castle' to End With Fourth Season

    “The Man in the High Castle” is coming to an end. Amazon Prime Video said Tuesday that the dystopian alt-history series will end with its fourth season, which will premiere in the fall. “It has been a great privilege to work alongside our extraordinary ‘High Castle’ team, in partnership with David Zucker and Scott Free, [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content