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CBSN today is rolling out new functionality for its main app on Roku devices, functionality that will likely look familiar to smartphone users: “Video Push Alerts,” meant to alert CBSN viewers about live news happening on one of the streaming news service’s 11 other feeds.
“Think of how ubiquitous mobile push alerts are. These are the same thing, for our CBS News app ecosystem,” says Christy Tanner, executive vp and GM of CBS News Digital. “We are going to have the ability to alert you when something interesting newsworthy and live is happening in one of our 12 live streams.”
The launch comes just a few weeks before election day, when CBS News and all the other national news networks will have rolling coverage — but also where CBS local stations (and the 10 local CBSN services) will have local coverage of key races and returns.
“On election day, Pennsylvania is going to be in the bullseye of election newsworthiness, and we have CBSN Philly and CBSN Pittsburgh,” Tanner says. “You could be watching the national results, but if you want a deeper dive into what’s happening in Pennsylvania, you can get it.”
CBSN currently has two live national feeds and 10 local feeds, programmed by CBS’ owned-and-operated TV stations. The company began beta-testing the alerts on Apple TV devices during the pandemic, when governors from multiple states would be giving briefings at the same time. Usage continued to grow over the summer following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests.
“We found that users really got what it was, they intuitively got what it was and used it,” Tanner says.
The new functionality also serves as something of a bridge between the national CBSN feed, which launched in 2014 and has seen consistent growth, and the local CBSN feeds, which the company began rolling out two years ago with CBSN New York. CBS now has local editions of the streaming news service in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Boston, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Denver, Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth.
“When we do research, we hear people say that their most trusted outlet is their local news,” Tanner says. “We recognize that value, and we wanted to be able to be the first mover in local streaming at a national level, so that people can stay connected to their communities, wherever they are.”
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