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Scripps News to offer more live news during weekdays

The free news channel will broadcast live during most of the weekday, starting in May.

The free news channel will broadcast live during most of the weekday, starting in May.

A still frame from a Scripps News broadcast.
A still frame from a Scripps News, formerly Newsy, broadcast. (Still frame via Scripps News broadcast, Graphic by The Desk)

Scripps News will update its daily programming to offer more live news broadcasts throughout most of the day, an executive with the channel’s parent company affirmed this week.

Starting May 1, Scripps News will offer live broadcasts Monday through Friday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern Time, marking the first time the channel has offered continuous live news coverage during the day and early evening.

In an interview with the website TV News Check, Scripps News President Kate O’Brien said data collected on viewership habits showed more people tuned in and watched Scripps News when it was offering live news broadcasts compared to recorded programming.

“Our plan has been to be live, frankly, seven days a week, all day long, not so much in the overnight hours,” O’Brien said. “I think that that’s there’s not as much return on investment to being live in the overnight hours. But the plan still is at some point when we have the resources to be live seven days a week all day and into the evenings on the weekends.”

Scripps News was founded as Newsy in 2008. At that time, Newsy mostly produced short videos on current events and pop culture that were distributed to third party news platforms like the Huffington Post, AOL and Yahoo News.

Newsy was eventually relaunched as a 24-hour free, ad-supported streaming news service, though the majority of its programming was simply repurposed video clips that were assembled on a linear timeline.

In 2014, Newsy was purchased by the E. W. Scripps Company for $35 million. Scripps quickly launched a pay TV version of Newsy that offered a limited amount of live programming coupled with recorded news shows. The free version of Newsy continued on as an aggregated linear channel.

Two years ago, Scripps consolidated the two Newsy feeds into a single offering and relaunched the brand as a free, ad-supported streaming news channel. The new version of Newsy was widely distributed on platforms like Pluto TV and Tubi, while Scripps wound down its carriage agreements on pay TV platforms. (Some of those platforms have since re-added the channel, and it was also added to some Ion Television stations after Scripps acquired that brand.)

Last September, Scripps announced Newsy would be rebranded to Scripps News, a move that was intended to better reflect the channel’s association with the well-known Scripps brand of journalism.

Since the rebranding, Scripps News has increased the amount of live programming offered on the channel, to include “Morning Rush,” “Scripps News Live” and “Evening Debrief.” During some parts of the day, Scripps News still relies on recorded programming, including “The List,” “The Why” and “In Real Life.”

While the recorded programs are interesting, O’Brien said viewers ultimately want live news from a television news channel.

“We’re a news organization and providing our viewers with the information that they need throughout the day to know what’s going on in the world is here,” O’Brien said. “That is our reason for being, and we were responding to what we saw with the viewership numbers. When we had repeats during the day, the viewership numbers slid a little bit and then came right back up when we went back on live.”

O’Brien said the eventual plan is to expand live programming on Scripps News to the weekends as well, something the channel will consider once it has more resources in place to deliver weekend news. For the moment, Scripps News offers some live news broadcasts during the weekends, as well as hourly cut-ins that are typically aired live.

“The plan still is at some point when we have the resources to be live seven days a week all day and into the evenings on the weekends,” O’Brien said.

Scripps News is available as a free streaming channel on Pluto TV, Xumo Play, Fox Corporation’s Tubi, Google TV, Amazon Freevee, Vizio WatchFree Plus, Roku Channel, Local Now, Samsung TV Plus and Sling Freestream. The channel is also offered on Fubo, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).