Cumulus/Westwood One sign with CNN Newsource
Cumulus has struck a deal for rights to CNN’s content to distribute to affiliates. The content will be distributed by Westwood One and allow stations to implement the content under their own branding. Cumulus, for example, will air content on Nash-branded Country station with the “Nash News” name, reported The NY Post.
While the content won’t carry the CNN name, the move helps the Time Warner unit — run by Jeff Zucker — reap revenue from its existing content. CNN ended it CNN Radio product back in 2012, but still provides content to around 1,000 affiliates, including TV stations and newspapers.
Research suggested stations were looking for something “more reflective of today’s listeners,” said Lew Dickey, Cumulus CEO.
Stations such as NYC’s Cumulus-backed WPLJ, for instance, can ask for CNN Newsource video, audio or text and tailor it for their local audience’s interests.
Dickey added: “It’s differentiated product. For some who want hard news, this isn’t the service, but there are fewer of those types of stations across the country. The emphasis is more on shorter stories, less hard news and ‘give it to me when I want it.’ ”
Dickey added many more stories were driven by what’s happening on social media.
Around 10,000 stations will have access to fully customized news content via Westwood One’s Storq technology operation, which tailors news packages for stations and their accompanying Web sites to make them feel local.
The CNN deal is exclusive and was negotiated over the past year. Cumulus is paying CNN for the content and Westwood One will license it to radio partners in exchange for ad inventory.
RBR-TVBR observation: While many thought Cumulus would cut some of the news and/or Sports networks it offers after the Dial Global/Westwood One acquisition, it has done just the opposite. Between this new offering, CBS Radio News, NBC News Radio, ABC News Radio and CNBC Business Radio, they’ve almost got the market cornered for news product in radio. One industry source tells us: “The CNN deal with Cumulus is all based on lowering news costs. CBS, ABC, and whomever was killing them with charges. I feel they will save $100M-$150M.”