If CBS tosses its news operation and channels that of CNN, would you care? That conundrum brings to mind a tough question for the media industry as a whole: content may be king, but does brand matter, especially with news?
The New York Times says executives from CBS and Time Warner have discussed reducing CBS’s news-gathering capacity while keeping its top personalities, such as Katie Couric, and paying a fee to buy CNN’s news feeds. Or CBS might keep its correspondents in certain regions but pair them with CNN crews. Anchors like Anderson Cooper already appear on both networks.
Variety says insiders at the two companies “downplayed” the report.
Sure broadcasting legends like Fred Friendly and William Paley may be turning in their graves, but in a world of declining viewership for network news and increased popularity of news consumed on the Web or mobile devices with aggregators like Drudge and Google News, one wonders if this is a smart cost-cutting move for CBS. CBS news is mired in last place amid the continuing struggles of Couric, who was given a $15 million a year contract, to attract new viewers, the Times said.
UPDATE: CBS News officially denies there are ongoing negotiations with CNN. CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius: “We’re extremely satisfied with and proud of our news gathering operation. No outside arrangements are being negotiated.”
Keep an eye on:
Entrepreneur Media is up for sale — the first round of bids are over and it hopes to get around $200 million. (PaidContent)
Facebook is close to settling a lawsuit brought by three former Harvard students who say the original idea for the social networking site was theirs. (NY Times)
Hollywood studios urge the Screen Actors Guild to embrace the framework of the earlier deals reached with the directors and screenwriters unions. (Reuters)
An online advertising network owned by News Corp, Fox Networks, has bought a majority stake in European video ad network Utarget as part of a move to expand in Europe and Asia. (Reuters)