Since its first broadcast from an iPhone on Facebook Live in 2016, Cheddar News has continued to defy convention. The live streaming financial and general news network targets millennial audiences with a fresh mix of programming that includes live daily news from the New York Stock Exchange floor, NASDAQ, the Flatiron Building in New York City, and the White House briefing room, covering politics, business, media, entertainment and technology.
Cheddar has aggressively pushed its programming onto a variety of pay-TV platforms and free streaming services by not charging affiliate fees – revenue paid from a pay-TV provider to the content creator. Its linear programming is available to more than 40 million households through deals with Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and others.
Digital first vision
It is also available on all of the leading free TV platforms: Pluto, Roku Channel, Amazon Fire News, can be found on major cable systems like Optimum and Spectrum and even has a campus network of 1,400 screens on 400+ US campuses in dining halls, gyms, and student unions.
Its digital first vision has seen Cheddar News amass millions of followers on social including 840,000 on YouTube, 1.5 million on TikTok and 5.5 million on Facebook.
“’Cheddar is Everywhere’ has always been a core focus for our network,” explained Jon Steinberg CEO and founder who guided the company’s sale to Altice News Group in 2019.
Steinberg remained in charge of the network including through the pandemic when, like so many media organizations, Cheddar had to rapidly pivot its production model to one that was remote and collaborative yet still lightning fast with news.
“COVID has required us to rethink and challenge ourselves on how we bring that vision to life: how we broadcast, adapt to the ad market, and lean into changing consumer streaming habits.”
Jon Steinberg, CEO and Founder, Cheddar News
The decision to base its media operations on Blackbird natively in the cloud has been key. Cheddar News’ distributed production team right across the US are able to use Blackbird remotely from their homes or from local studios to rapidly access and edit Zixi live broadcast feeds and file-based content for quick fire distribution to its portfolio of broadcast, OTT, web and social channels. All of its new reporters are also using Blackbird to super efficiently curate and publish stories from the field. The workflow further enabled Cheddar News’ anchors to broadcast live and safe from home.
“We’ve witnessed increased viewership and herculean efforts by our team to create a completely ‘broadcast from home’ infrastructure,” Steinberg said. “The teamwork and can-do attitude over the last few weeks has been inspiring and we are approaching our future with a learner’s mindset while asking ourselves not only how we build Cheddar for today, but how we build it for the future.”
Blackbird is best-of-breed
Jon Hanford - Group CTO, Deltatre