×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cheddar Now on All U.S. OTT Streaming Services, Preps Primetime Programming Block

Video-news startup Cheddar is launching its live-streaming news networks on Sony’s PlayStation Vue, making it the first content provider to span all over-the-top subscription services in the U.S.

The company, founded in 2016, operates two networks — the newly rebranded Cheddar Business, positioned as a CNBC-style financial and business network for millennials, and Cheddar News, which it previously called Cheddar Big News. Cheddar’s linear programming is carried on Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV and Philo, and went live on PlayStation Vue on Wednesday (Jan. 23).

“We made it our goal to be on every one of these services – which is the future of television,” said Jon Steinberg, founder and CEO of Cheddar. That said, going the OTT route is an easier path: Steinberg acknowledged that “it’s virtually impossible to get traditional channels launched” on traditional pay-TV platforms.

Cheddar’s linear streams also are available on Comcast’s X1 set-top boxes and on DirecTV’s internet-connected set-tops. It also sends out a live feed via Twitter and sells direct-to-consumer subscriptions (for $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year). All told, Cheddar reaches roughly 30 million homes through its deals, according to Steinberg.

As part of Cheddar’s push to bring in more revenue with the expanded distribution footprint, the company will launch a block of primetime programming next month, Steinberg said. The weeknight lineup will include “reality-business programming” and a game show, he said. That will extend Cheddar Business’s original content wheel past its current live coverage from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (after which the channel replays highlights from the day).

Steinberg declined to provide details of its agreement with Sony for PS Vue or other distributors, but he said unlike other cable TV network startups, “We’ve never written a check for carriage.”

The main revenue stream for Cheddar, which calls itself a purveyor of “post-cable networks,” is from advertising and branded content. Last year, the company generated $27 million in revenue (up from $11 million from 2017) and Steinberg is shooting to nearly double sales in 2019.

“We are in these premium TV environments, next to CNN, CNBC and Fox News Channel,” he said. “It’s completely work-safe, high-value inventory delivered to young, affluent audiences.” Cheddar’s sponsors and advertisers have included Chase, Goldman Sachs, TradeStation and Fidelity, and Steinberg sees an opportunity to expand beyond the endemic financial-services category.

To date, Cheddar has raised $54 million in funding from investors including Amazon, AT&T, Comcast Ventures, Raine Ventures, Liberty Global, Goldman Sachs, Altice USA, the New York Stock Exchange, Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Steinberg is projecting the company to be profitable in the fourth quarter of 2019 “and stay profitable,” he said. “I’m obsessed with keeping the company frugal. You should see our offices.” The company has spent $10 million on acquisitions, including buying RateMyProfessors.com from Viacom last year, and currently has $30 million in the bank between cash and accounts receivable, according to Steinberg.

Cheddar now has 180 employees, most of whom are based in New York. Cheddar Business broadcasts primarily from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, covering business and tech news. Cheddar News covers general and headline news. On PlayStation Vue, Cheddar Business is available in the Access package, available to all subscribers. Cheddar News is available to all subscribers with the Elite and Ultra packages.

Interest has surged among traditional media companies in next-generation streaming video plays: witness Viacom’s $340 million cash deal for Pluto TV, a free, ad-supported streaming service.

Asked what Cheddar’s exit strategy is, Steinberg said, “I don’t think our exit is going to be someone writing a giant check for us.” He added, “I have no interest in merging with other digital companies.” On the other hand, it would make sense for Cheddar to be part of a local TV station group, or to combine with the news operations of a larger media company if those were to be spun out, Steinberg said.

More Digital

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

  • Carlos SlimMexican tycoon Carlos Slim participates

    Carlos Slim’s America Movil Looks to Invest $8.5 Billion in Latin America This Year

    América Móvil general director Daniel Hajj has announced that Carlos Slim’s Mexican conglomerate plans to invest $8.5 billion in Latin American in 2019, focusing primarily on fiber-optic infrastructure and updated mobile technologies such as 4.5G and 5gG. In a conference call with analysts, following the company’s recap of fourth quarter results, Hajj laid out the [...]

  • Netflix Gooses Movistar Uptake in Spain

    Netflix Gooses Movistar + Uptake in Spain

    MADRID — Telefonica’s Movistar +, the biggest pay TV-SVOD service in Spain, is feeling the Netflix effect. And for the good. Following Netflix’s launch on Movistar + on Dec. 11, more than one third of new subscribers to Movistar, Telefonica’s telephony, internet and TV service, have taken the new Netflix option. 35% of established clients [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content