The News Pursues an OTT Disruption

2015 is quickly becoming a transformative year for over-the-top (OTT): many new streaming services have launched and others will soon be arriving, several cable channels have created their own apps, and even more apps are debuting on set-top boxes (STBs) and smart televisions.

Up until this point, a large majority of these services have been movie and TV show-centric. That’s all starting to change.

Now, news and media organizations are joining the OTT playing field.


Perhaps it’s because cable news and newspapers are in dire straits.

According to a new report on the newspaper industry, circulation is down, advertising revenue is down and employment is down.

Meanwhile, over in cable news, audiences are down too, with median viewership decreasing 7% across FOX News Channel, CNN and MSNBC.

These red flags should be indicating that something needs to be done.

Just last week, leading CNN political reporter Peter Hamby abandoned the network to work for Snapchat as the Head of News.

While the exact details of this role are not fully known, many are speculating that the app will have a large impact on the 2016 U.S. election.

“You’ve got to find a way to reach people who aren’t reading long-form political articles,” said political communications adviser Tim Miller.

In February, Reuters revealed the ‘Reuters TV’ app for iOS, a service it describes as the “Netflix for news.”

“It’s individually relevant, on-demand, and up-to date. It’s ideal for viewing during your daily commute,” Reuters TV managing director Isaac Showman told The Guardian.

“[It] will be fast when it needs to be fast, deep when viewers want depth, but most importantly, it will be news that’s authentic, coming straight from the source and journalists on the ground,” added executive editor Dan Colarusso.

At the end of March, youth media company VICE announced a partnership with HBO that would grant it a special channel on the OTT HBO Now service, as well as include additional episodes of its weekly television show.

“This deal, simply put, allows Vice the freedom to go after any story, anywhere we find it – and to do so with complete independence,” said VICE founder Shane Smith.

And VICE didn’t stop there. A week or so later they kicked off another arrangement – this time with Rogers Communications – to create a unique, Canada-focused “Daily Vice” app on Rogers’ Fido wireless carrier.

We’ve seen revolution in streaming movies, TV shows and music. It’s the media’s time to catch up.

“People haven’t stopped consuming news and information,” Frank Lesno, a media professor at George Washington University, told The Washington Post, “they’re just consuming it differently … It’s media Darwinism. It’s not survival of the fittest, but survival of the most creative.”

Author: Brian Cameron

Image via Shutterstock.

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