Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In Cable News Wars, HOTT News Sees An Opening

HOTT News is the brainchild of Steve Rose, a young man who describes himself as a "rich kid from Malibu." He is busy courting investors as he develops a twenty-four hour news channel. He does not consider himself an expert in cable news. At 24-years-old, he depends on a wise source to understand the history of cable news: his father. "My dad tells me that CNN used to be relevant, which is hard for me to believe," says Rose, finishing a game on Xbox. Rose doesn't care much for news, except to the extent that it can make him money. Rose is rich by virtue of inheritance. Other than the Jaguar he drives, he does not possess a lot of material goods. He is determined not to squander his riches. Even with slight understanding of the cable news industry, he sees opportunity: "Look at Current TV. Actually, don't. It'll hurt your eyes. What's going on over there doesn't make sense. 'Let's go left of MSNBC.' How is that a successful strategy?"

Rose flips through the channels as we talk, staying on MTV for a while, then ESPN, and lands on Fox News. "Everything about Fox News has already been said, so I won't repeat it. I'll only say that the clock is running out. Sooner or later, their viewers will get it. And then they'll change the channel." So where will the viewers turn? Rose hopes it will be HOTT News.

Rose has a vision of a channel in which news is delivered in unconventional ways. "The anchors and reporters will be, shall we say, hot. Very hot." But won't that compromise the integrity of the content, I ask him. "Integrity? You live in America, right? Where do you see integrity? Integrity has left the building. Enter hotness." Confused, I probe for a clearer description of what viewers can expect if HOTT News comes to fruition. "Look, it's not going to be a case of opinion masquerading as news, or news hiding behind a thin veil of supposed objectivity. This is not your parents' cable news station. This is MTV meets ESPN meets the old CNN." That doesn't make any sense to me, so I ask again what he means. Frustrated, he offers a blunt answer: "Hot people delivering news and opinion. But finally, you'll know which is which. That's it." Is he concerned about what demographic he will attract, or what segments of the population he will leave out? "Absolutely not," he says with confidence. "Everybody likes hottness shaken and stirred." Still confused, I thank him for his time, and leave the interview very concerned about the future of cable news.

No comments:

Post a Comment