The news app race is on.
C-SPAN is the latest TV network to announce the launch of a new mobile app — in this case, C-SPAN Now, which the network says will be a free service that hosts video of major political events of the day. Presented, the network promises, in its “signature unfiltered, think-for-yourself style.”
In a statement about the launch, C-SPAN Vice President of Digital Media Richard Weinstein said this comes in response to viewers regularly asking for availability of the network’s content in the form of a mobile app. “Through our digital consultancy partnership with software developer Globant, we’ve built C-SPAN Now to bring C-SPAN’s mission — delivering an unfiltered, high-quality viewing and listening experience of our government’s proceedings — to another digital platform and to new audiences,” Weinstein said.
The app is available now, but for iPhone users it does require iOS 14 or a later version of the operating software. For Android users, the mobile device has to be running at least Android 6 Marshmallow.
In terms of the new app’s functionality, C-SPAN Now will let users watch complete coverage of US and House Senate proceedings, both live or on-demand. As well as congressional hearings, White House events, courts, campaign events and more. The app will also offer featured highlight clips, and will offer current schedule information for C-SPAN’s TV networks and C-SPAN Radio. Users will also be able to watch the three C-SPAN TV networks (as long as you’re a cable or satellite TV customer with C-SPAN) and the latest episodes of “Washington Journal” and “Q&A.”
Another interesting thing about this launch is that it comes almost in tandem with other big news media players — specifically, Fox and CNN — likewise poised to soon debut big offerings of their own.
Of those two, the first up is Fox, which is flipping the switch next month on a new standalone streaming service that will be app-based and focused exclusively on weather. Fox Weather will be free and ad-supported — and also represents how robust the level of consumer interest has now gotten in the weather space. And while the Fox Weather landing page currently teases that it’s “coming soon,” as things stand right now it’s a definite go to launch in October, though the media giant is not yet talking about a specific date.
Among the details that it is talking about, the company has shared some of the names of journalists and on-air talent for Fox Weather. In August, Fox identified five correspondents who’ve been hired — Nicole Valdes, Steve Bender and Max Gorden, who will all provide live, breaking news coverage on developing weather events around the country. Meanwhile, Fox has also hired at least five multimedia journalists for Fox Weather who will be based around the US.
And then there’s CNN, which in the wake of what it says was the network’s highest-rated and most-trafficked year ever on TV and digital platforms, is preparing to launch CNN+ in Q1 2022.
This streaming service has reportedly been looking at price options ranging from $1.99/month up to $9.99/month, and the plan is to offer 8-12 hours of live, daily programming at launch. Some of the all-new programming will come from CNN’s existing high-profile personalities like Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon, who negotiated salary hikes for the extra work this streamer will entail for them.
CNN+ will also launch with what the network promises will be a deep library of non-fiction, long form programming, including past seasons of shows like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. Importantly, subscribers also won’t need an all-new app to access CNN+ content.
CNN said earlier this year that it will continue to have a single app, wherein CNN+ subscribers can access CNN+ programming — and which will also include CNN’s linear TV feeds of CNN and its other channels like CNN International. And as a testament to the sizable audience that already consumes the brand’s content digitally, the network said earlier this month that in August, CNN.com garnered 113 million mobile unique visitors for the month.
That gave CNN more than two straight years of more than 100 million unique visitors coming to CNN exclusively via mobile platforms, the network said.