Cox Media Group Launches Local FAST News Service ‘Neighborhood TV’

Cox Media Group is launching a free local ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) news service called Neighborhood TV. Available as app on desktop and mobile devices in Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., the platform has generated more than 100 million impressions monthly, according to Cox. It is expected to be available in Orlando, Fla., later this year.

NTV, which is partnering with McClatchy for news content, currently covers 70 neighborhoods in Georgia and 30 neighborhoods in North Carolina, with the goal of reaching upwards of 5,000 neighborhoods across the U.S.

According to a recent Gallup survey, 7 in 10 Americans say the news plays a “critical” (30%) or “very important” (42%) role in making residents feel connected to their community. A situation Cox contends is not being addressed by current local news bundles.

The streaming platform is an extension of CMG’s linear TV business, addressing audiences who have adopted streaming in addition to traditional TV and cable. Neighborhood TV is accessible on the web at www.neighborhoodTV.com, and via the CTV app on all major streaming platforms, including Samsung TV Plus and Roku.

“We see audiences migrating online with a keen interest in local happenings and as the leading broadcaster in key markets, we want to build on the equity we already have by expanding in this way,” Steve Pruett, executive chairman of CMG, said in a statement.

NTV aims to focus on local government, the local impact of extreme weather or other events, new restaurants and nightlife spots, local sporting events, community heroes and local cultural events.

The platform also aims to fill a growing hole created by the disappearance of local newspapers. A report by Medill’s local News initiative found that between the pre-pandemic months of late 2019 and the end of May 2022, more than 360 newspapers closed. Since 2005, the U.S. has lost more than one-fourth of its newspapers and is on track to lose a third by 2025, according to Cox.

Dan York Named CEO of Cox Media Group

Dan York, former chief content officer at DirecTV and MediaPlay News “Digital Driver,” has been named CEO of Cox Media Group.

York will be responsible for all aspects of managing the company’s media platforms and will oversee CMG’s long-term strategic priorities.

Steve Pruett, who was interim CEO, will continue as executive chairman of CMG. He said York’s success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations, makes him essential.

Dan York

“Most importantly, [York] embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve,” Pruett said in a statement. “We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.”

As CCO at DirecTV, York developed a reputation for being a hard negotiator, including driving programmers to tears during all-night contract proceedings, according to a 2016 Los Angeles Times profile.

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York helped build AT&T’s video business over the past 15 years from a start-up to one of the nation’s largest pay-TV provider and the world’s largest licensor of content. During his tenure he oversaw all content activities, including licensing, operations, strategy, investments, original content, compliance, and ran AT&T’s ad sales and regional sports networks.

Indeed, it was York who allegedly was instrumental in preventing DirecTV from picking up the Los Angeles Dodgers’ regional cable channel, SportsNet LA, which is controlled by the former Time Warner Cable (now part of Charter Communications). The heavy-handed tactics resulted in the Justice Department lawsuit against AT&T-owned DirecTV.

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“We all negotiate hard to get good deals,” a veteran TV executive told the Times. “But Dan mashes your face into the cement.”

DirecTV and other AT&T cable systems finally ended the Dodgers blackout in April 2020.