CBS launches digital news channel for Sacramento

"CBSN Sacramento" was delayed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(Still frame courtesy KOVR-TV/CBS Local Stations, Graphic by The Desk)

After one year of delays, ViacomCBS has finally launched a localized version of its CBSN digital news network for its Sacramento owned-and-operated station.

Last year, The Desk exclusively reported that CBS and local station KOVR-TV (Channel 13) were preparing the launch of “CBSN Sacramento,” a 24-hour streaming news channel that would offer breaking news bulletins and local news programming produced by KOVR and sister-station KMAX-TV (Channel 31, CW).

The launch coincided with the rollout of several other localized versions of CBSN, the all-digital streaming news channel started by then-CBS Corporation in late 2014. In addition to Sacramento, ViacomCBS offers local versions of CBSN in other markets where it owns the local broadcast station, including San Francisco (“CBSN Bay Area”), Boston, New York City and Los Angeles.

CBSN Sacramento was expected to debut in March 2020, but the ongoing coronavirus health pandemic coupled with technical and resource issues prompted KOVR and ViacomCBS to delay its start several times, according to a person familiar with the issue. ViacomCBS reset KOVR’s deadline for CBSN Sacramento’s launch to the beginning of July, but it was delayed again for those same reasons.

The streaming channel finally rolled out to viewers in the Sacramento market this week, quietly launching on KOVR’s website as well as the CBS News app ahead of a formal announcement made Wednesday. The service will eventually be syndicated to other ViacomCBS properties, including Pluto TV and Paramount Plus, in the coming weeks.

CBSN Sacramento will offer streaming access to live newscasts in progress, including the flagship local morning program “Good Day Sacramento,” with breaking news bulletins and aggregated on-demand news clips distributed when KOVR and KMAX are not on the air with a newscast.

“CBSN Sacramento (is) an incredible accomplishment from the CBS News and CBS Television Stations teams,” Christy Tanner, the executive vice president in charge of digital news initiatives at ViacomCBS, said in a statement posted to social media.

The CBS News app, which offers CBSN Sacramento and a handful of other news streams, can be downloaded for free on Apple TV, Android TV (Google TV), Roku and Amazon Fire TV. It is also available to download on Apple’s iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android phones and tablets, and Xbox and PlayStation game consoles.

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