CBS today launches a free 24-hour streaming sports news network as it seeks to capitalize further on the growing popularity of streaming services and viewing on mobile devices.
The new CBS Sports HQ will draw from the resources of CBS Sports and its various digital properties to deliver live news reports, game previews, post-game analysis, highlights and in-depth statistics to connected devices. The one thing it won’t offer: the ability to watch live games.
Like Disney’s planned ESPN Plus streaming service, CBS Sports HQ is viewed as “complementary” to the network’s existing sports programming — not one that would threaten to cannibalize TV viewership.
CBS Interactive President Marc DeBevoise said CBS Sports HQ will seek to emulate the success of CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming news service.
“CBSN gets 1 million viewers a day, and tens of millions in profit,” said DeBevoise in an interview with Deadline. “After an election year, we’re still growing … We think sports will work the same way.”
CBS Sports HQ debuts just in time for two highly anticipated sports events, the March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Masters Tournament in April.
At launch, it will be available on CBSSports.com, through the CBS Sports app for internet-connected TV devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. It’ll also be available through the CBS Sports mobile app, as well as through the CBS All Access subscription streaming service.
CEO Leslie Moonves previewed the new digital sports service on the network’s recent earnings call, where he touted the success of CBS All Access — which provides live TV programming as well as on-demand access to 10,000 shows — and Showtime’s over-the-top service. Together, they have attracted nearly 5 million subscribers, well on the way to achieving CBS’s goal of 8 million subscribers by 2020, Moonves said.
Services like CBS All Access and the CBSN reach a younger viewer who may not even subscribe to cable or satellite TV. “Eighty percent of the audience is between the ages of 18 and 49 and their average age is 38,” Moonves said on the call with analysts.