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Documentaries to air regularly on streaming news channel CBSN

The logo of CBSN (Photo: Handout)

CBSN has rolled out a new plan to stream original documentaries at the same time each week across its digital platforms, according to a report.

The new strategy harkens back to a traditional television broadcast model, one that CBS executives say continues to work even in the era of streaming and on-demand television.

CBSN Originals, a documentary series sponsored by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, launched in 2016. Nearly four dozen half-hour documentaries have been published online, with a handful of those streaming at different times on CBSN over the last three years.

In October, CBS executives created a new schedule for the documentary series: New 30-minute episodes would publish online on Thursdays, then stream on CBSN at the same time each Sunday.

The strategy, so far, is working: CBSN has seen a 20 percent increase in viewership since the company released its first two episodes under the retooled model.

“We decided to release them more or less on a weekly cadence in groups of six so that, if you liked the first one in the series or the second one in the series, you’d know that another one is coming soon,” Christy Tanner, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Digital, said in a statement provided to the website Digiday.

Documentaries are a small element in CBSN’s overall streaming strategy — one that places breaking news and developing stories above all else.

“Our original series is a really super important part of our overall programming, but our bread and butter is livestreaming and being able to turn on a dime for breaking news,” Tanner said.

Each day, more than one million people stream CBSN via CBS apps and on partner websites, including Hulu and Pluto TV. The digital-only network has proved so popular that CBS has started rolling out local variants of the service in broadcast markets where it owns the local CBS station, including Los Angeles and New York City.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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