Culture

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.