Television

Cable Channel's Plan to Compete with the Internet: Become a Vapid Internet Highlight Reel

HLN wants to rebrand itself.

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CNN's sister channel HLN wants to rebrand itself, BuzzFeed reports:

Maybe they could go retro instead. Do everything in an '80s style, down to the anchors' hairdos.

"Younger consumers have a very different perception of what news and information is," said [HLN executive Albie] Hecht. "For them, news is really made in the palm of their hands, in the iPhone prayer position. But they want every update in real time and non-stop and that's the space that is not on TV. Our headlines are going to be ripped from social media."…

What Hecht aims to do is package and present news culled from the media young viewers are actually consuming. While its competitors will be mining newspapers and magazines and broadcast news for headlines, HLN plans to instead curate blogs, Facebook and Tumblr posts, YouTube videos, tweets, and memes to give the things that are being traded and shared on the web a home on television. (HLN will also, of course, be active in creating and pushing out new content to various social media platforms and on tablets and mobile devices.)

"There is no one place someplace where all of this news that you share on the web is available," said Hecht, who was dressed corporate casual with a collared shirt and blazer, his silver hair matching the color of his wire-rimmed glasses. "By giving it a home, and saying clearly to the social media generation that this is for you, come here, when you watch TV, watch us, I think that's going to be a very exciting development for them and for the media."

Of course "all of this news that you share on the web" has "a home" already. That home is called "the Web." Why anyone will want to tune in to see Nancy Grace reading highlights from it is beyond me. What Hecht is proposing isn't news for people who get their information online; it's news for people who think it's a clever marketing strategy to include a hashtag in a TV ad. And while that's evidently enough viewers to fill the middle ranks of a dying industry, I don't think it's enough to revive the fortunes of Hecht's employer.

Elsewhere in Reason: An earlier version of the same mistake.

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  1. “By giving it a home, and saying clearly to the social media generation that this is for you, come here, when you watch TV, watch us, I think that’s going to be a very exciting development for them and for the media.”

    Ted Turner must be spinning in his grave.

    1. a mean feat, considering he’s not dead.

      1. He’s Canadian, though, right?

      2. This’ll kill ‘im!

      3. Perhaps by “grave” he meant Jane Fonda.

    2. Pretty cool since we no longer need the cable channels and can crossover to internet, apple tv, Xbox, PS4 all streaming devices that can be used to watch the news instead of cable.

  2. CNN Tonight with your host, popular comedian Marc Meron!

    …gotta compete with The Daily Show somehow.

  3. It’s Tosh 2.0 combined with The Soup.

    1. Web Soup was already a thing.

  4. Maybe they could go retro instead. Do everything in an ’80s style, down to the anchors’ hairdos.

    We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
    Comes on at five
    She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam
    In her eye
    It’s interesting when people die-
    Give us dirty laundry

    1. DON HENLEY IS NEVER WRONG

  5. You could have stopped at “Why anyone will want to tune in to see Nancy Grace”. Ever.

    1. I’d watch her if she were on a reality show involving Camp Crystal Lake. But I’d be rooting for Jason.

      1. OK, I will give you that one. Or if “The Running Man” was for reals.

  6. I think it’s pathetic when the news tries to jump on some current Internet meme. I mean, what do viewers need them for if they’re reporting stuff viewers have already heard about with no more depth than what they pick up on the web?

    1. TV journalism used to be a cost center. The expectation of the networks that the news departments brought prestige, not profit. Ted Turner changed that when he launched CNN. Now every news department must focus on getting eyeballs first and foremost. Telling the “news” doesn’t do that; scaring the shit out of the audience does. Amusing cats videos can be used intermittently to break the tension, but OMFG is the goal of most news stories.

      1. Well, it’s not working very well.

        1. It worked great right up until eyeballs fled the TV screen and moved to iGadget.

    2. Ya know what’s hilarious. That’s basically the same shit the MSM used to say about ‘commentary’ blogs and sites like ‘Drudge’.

  7. “There is no one place someplace where all of this news that you share on the web is available,” said Hecht, who was dressed corporate casual with a collared shirt and blazer, his silver hair matching the color of his wire-rimmed glasses.

    You silly old fart.


  8. What Hecht aims to do is package and present news culled from the media young viewers are actually consuming.

    So, Current 2.0, then? Will Gore get royalties?

  9. Instant news:
    “Giraffe east chickens dropped off from figure skater!”
    Sorry, needs editing.

  10. news is really made in the palm of their hands,

    Is that what kids are calling it these days?

    “Hey, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is out. Guess I’m going to be making some news tonight!”

    1. “It’s still pretty hairy out there, sir.”

      “Do you wanna surf the Web, soldier?”

  11. What a maroon. The beauty of that “web” thingy is the viewer/reader’s ability to sort through a vast cluttered junkpile of random noise and decide what to pay attention to.

    If those HLN guys were able to effectively guess what the man in the street wanted to see, they wouldn’t be flailing desperately about for a new business model.

    You’re DOOOOMED, Hecht. Stop fooling yourself.

  12. Cable Channel’s Plan to Compete with the Internet: Become a Vapid Internet Highlight Reel

    Hasn’t CNN been mostly this for its whole existence. Except when major, world-level stories are breaking its mostly a 30-60 minute repeating ‘Headline News’ ticker.

  13. CNN tries something new every few weeks to capture the market share they think they deserve. And they are not going to let the fact that they miss the mark every stinkin’ time deter them.

    But they aren’t the only ones. Almost all TV news outlets are now repeating what has already gained popularity on social media. It’s kind of pathetic because they are hoping to breath life into outdated technology by plagiarizing content after it has has already been distributed to the intended audience.

    1. But it’ll allow the old people who actually watch TV (let alone TV *news*) see what those young vandals are getting up to.

      Personally, I don’t see the advantage to outsourcing my news aggregation to someone who isn’t answerable to *my* desires and tastes. Doubly so when its ridiculously easy to do an feed sending you updates from selected sites.

  14. What happens when you create a news channel based upon a source that is arguably making us dumber? Uh, wut?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci…..elves.html

  15. When will cable companies realize that they are just glorified internet service providers?

  16. Wow.

    So what you’re saying is, ‘Reason 24/7’ has competition?

    (DUCKS, RUNS, LOCKS STEEL DOOR TO UNDERGROUND BUNKER)

    1. *Watches H&R squirrelz draw ATGMs and satchel charges from the Reason armory*

  17. “Younger consumers have a very different perception of what news and information is,” said [HLN executive Albie] Hecht. “For them, news is really made in the palm of their hands”

    Their News Anchor?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..o#t=03m20s

  18. “”See, what we’re doing here is taking the things that New Media does that TV can’t do… and putting it on TV!””

    Maybe they’ll have a closed-captioned person in the corner doing sign-language ‘comments’ as the news rolls. most being Anon-Bot.

    1. “What are you watching?”

      “The news”

      “What is the cc person telling you?”

      “Something about jsut rolling with beautiful bean footage…”

      1. “”also…. uh, honey did you know you could make thousands of $ working from home just with an internet…wait…. something about ‘gamboling’? What the fuck is ‘gamboling?'””

  19. Of course “all of this news that you share on the web” has “a home” already. That home is called “the Web.” Why anyone will want to tune in to see Nancy Grace reading highlights from it is beyond me.

    If you’re just doing a Reader’s Digest of the web, that might find a modest audience. If you’re doing a Tosh point O, adding acerbic commentary, then that too will find an audience.

  20. “[HLN executive Albie] Hecht.”

    I am pretty sure I am not the only person on earth who read that name, and immediately envisioned him burning in hellfire.

    Get it?

    ‘Albie Damned’!

    1. God, that shit has multiple dimensions of pun built in!

      Envision the guy introducing himself at a social event..

      “Hi There: Albie Hecht”
      “Albie *Heck*-ed?”
      “Yes. Heck’ed”
      “Well *I’ll be damned*”
      (rim shot)

      groaaaaaaaaaaaaaaann

  21. Who in the fuck still watches Headline News?

    If they bring back Lynne Russell, I might consider watching again.

    1. Rudi Bakhtiar gets no love?

  22. Sheesh, I remember when Headline News was THE source to tune to when you wanted to find out what had been going on in the world while you were stuck on the airplane. Check into the hotel, turn on HNN, catch all the scores and headlines, then 1/2 hour later when they re-ran the story that was running when you turned it on, you could head out to the hotel bar.

    Of course, this was before 1995 when this thing called The Internet came along and made all that obsolete. I tuned in HNN about a year ago for old times sake and freakin’ Nancy Grace was there scowling. Put me off my feed for at least two days. WTF??

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