Peacock Launching Local News Channels via NBC-Owned TV Stations

Peacock Jan. 20 announced the expansion of local news content on the streaming platform with channels from its NBC-owned television stations in several major markets. Beginning today, all Peacock users have free access to coverage from NBC 5 Chicago (WMAQ), NBC 10 Philadelphia (WCAU), NBC10 Boston (WBTS) and New England Cable Network (NECN), and NBC 6 Miami (WTVJ). News channels from NBC 4 New York (WNBC) and NBC 4 Los Angeles (KNBC) will be available to stream for free in the months ahead.

The new channels titled NBC Chicago News, NBC Philadelphia News, NBC Boston News and NBC South Florida News offer Peacock subs 24/7 access local news coverage. Each channel features simulcast and encore news programming, along with breaking news and original content produced by its NBC station’s local news operations. The lineups deliver news, weather, sports, investigative reporting, lifestyle content and storytelling.

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“We know the importance of local news to our subscribers, and this further distinguishes the Peacock experience where you can stream everything from news content to original scripted shows, premium movies, live sports and more all on our platform,” Jen Brown, SVP of program planning for Peacock, said in a statement.

The addition of local news channels builds upon Peacock’s growing news offering, which currently features live and on demand channels including NBC News Now, Sky News, Today All Day, NBC LX, Telemundo Al Día and Dateline 24/7; exclusive channels like The Choice from MSNBC, featuring original programming from hosts Zerlina Maxwell and Mehdi Hasan; curated playlists from national programming such as “Today,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Meet the Press,” “Noticias Telemundo,” MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, E! News and Access Hollywood as well as 11 local NBC stations including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Connecticut.

CNN Records Largest Digital Audience In History In January

WarnerMedia Entertainment’s CNN news division began 2020 with the highest audience numbers in its history for both total audience and mobile audience, outpacing all competitors for nearly four years for U.S. unique visitors, nearly five years for video and nine months for global unique visitors.

Citing ComScore monthly data, CNN’s digital audience in the U.S. in January was a record 148 million unique visitors and a record 128 million mobile unique visitors. CNN held the position as the #1 global digital news brand in December 2019.

Adobe Analytics data revealed record CNN global traffic in January as well, and underscored the brand’s strength in the U.S., ranking again as the #1 digital news outlet in January in the key categories of multi-platform unique visitors, mobile unique visitors, multi-platform video starts (Dec. 2019), millennial unique visitors and political unique visitors.

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CNN saw a larger global audience than any other news platform in the world in December 2019, with 165 million unique multi-platform visitors, 20 million more than second place BBC and 37 million more than third place The Daily Mail. Other top sites included: Yahoo News – 123 million unique visitors; The New York Times – 118 million unique visitors; – 104 million unique visitors.

CNN posted 148 million unique multi-platform visitors domestically in January. This was 34 million more unique visitors than second-place Fox News and 41 million more unique visitors than The New York Times.

Others included – 93.3 million unique visitors; – 92.6 million unique visitors; – 89 million unique visitors.

CNN’s mobile audience continued to top 100 million unique visitors in January with an all-time record of 128 million mobile unique visitors – 33 million more mobile unique visitors than both second-place Fox News and third-place The New York Times. Others included – 84 million unique visitors; – 83 million unique visitors; – 79 million unique visitors.

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CNN again ranked as #1 in digital video with 522 million multi-platform video starts, generating 210 million more video starts than its nearest competitor Fox News in December 2019. Others included Yahoo News – 290 million video starts; Sites – 153 million video starts; MSN News – 123 million video starts; MSNBC TV – 116 million video starts.

CNN saw a larger audience of millennial multi-platform unique visitors (between the ages of 18-34) than any other competitor in January with 42 million. Others included The New York Times – 30 million millennial unique visitors; – 28 million millennial unique visitors; – 27 million millennial unique visitors; – 24 million millennial unique visitors, and – 23 million millennial unique visitors.

CNN continued to reign on top of all political news sources at the start of Election Year 2020, as the #1 ranked political news destination in January with 58 million multi-platform unique visitors, 50 million mobile unique visitors and 74 million multi-platform video starts (December 2019) .

January was the second biggest month ever for CNN politics mobile audience behind December 2019. CNN has remained the #1 online political news outlet since March 2015 when the first person declared their candidacy for president in the 2016 race.

Other top political platforms include –34 million unique visitors; – 31 million unique visitors; Fox News Politics– 24 million unique visitors; MSNBC TV – 15.4 million unique visitors and Politics – 14.7 million unique visitors. 

Home Video Unwitting Player in Ronan Farrow Book ‘Catch and Kill’

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill, which hits bookstores Oct. 15, outlines alleged efforts by NBC News in 2015 to quash Farrow’s story on alleged sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein — the former Hollywood powerbroker and co-founder of The Weinstein Company.

Farrow’s reporting eventually found its way into The New Yorker in 2017, resulting in Weinstein’s firing from TWC and subsequent criminal charges filed against him in New York on behalf of several women who alleged sexual misconduct. Events that would spearhead the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

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In Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, home video makes a cameo appearance as an indirect player in Weinstein’s cozy relationship with NBC’s corporate partner Universal Pictures.

According to the book, Weinstein contacted Ron Meyer, chairman of Universal Pictures, looking to secure a home video and digital distribution deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for TWC movies.

TWC had previously distributed packaged-media content through a partnership with Steve Bannon-led (yes, that Steve Bannon) Genius Products — a relationship that ended when Genius filed for involuntary bankruptcy in 2011.

Genius later filed a $130 million lawsuit against TWC alleging fraud. The case was resolved in 2018 with TWC agreeing to pay a $2.5 million settlement.

TWC titles were subsequently shepherded to retail by Starz Media’s Anchor Bay Home Entertainment after TWC acquired a 25% stake in Starz Media.

“I wanted to talk to you about Universal doing our home video and VOD — we’re talking to your guys and I think it’s always good to have a word from the top,” Weinstein wrote in an email to Meyer, as reported by The Wrap from an advanced copy of the book.

“I would love to make this work,” Meyer wrote back to Weinstein. “I look forward to us being in business together. As I told you, if there is anything but a yes please let me know.”

The potential deal, as many in Hollywood, never materialized.

Regardless, Weinstein’s home video request occurred the same year NBC News decided not to air Farrow’s news story on Weinstein.

Farrow contends NBC News senior executives caved to pressure from Weinstein — charges both NBC and Weinstein deny.


Maine Man Arrested After Driving to California to Threaten Google About Shutting Down His YouTube Channel

A YouTube video channel operator from Waterville, Maine, was arrested after driving to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., to complain about his channel being shut down.

Kyle Long, 33, was arrested by authorities on Hwy 101 outside Google headquarters for making criminal threats and held in a local jail on $25,000 bail.

Kyle Long

Long’s odyssey began after he believed Google had shut down his YouTube channel, which reportedly offered video instructions how to monetize the platform.

Long apparently thought Google had taken down his videos, when in reality it was his wife who dismantled the channel, claiming the videos were nonsense, according to NBC News.

“His wife took it down as soon as he put it up,” Long’s father told NBC, adding that the videos didn’t make any sense to him either.

“It was dumb; it was crazy,” the father said. “He showed it to me and it was most bizarre thing. It wasn’t reality.”

The situation turned serious after Long engaged in an awkward conversation about losing money on YouTube with a state trooper at a gas station bathroom in Iowa. That chat prompted the trooper to contact authorities in Maine.

Local police there also reportedly learned that Long had threatened “physical” violence if his interaction with Google didn’t go well. That prompted a call to Mountain View police.