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Posts Tagged ‘Jacob Soboroff’

HuffPost Live Shutters LA Studio, Lays Off Staff

The Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live online video network, is betting big on international growth, part of an effort to become a global video news channel, rather than a U.S. one.

As part of that strategy shift, it has decided to shutter its Los Angeles office and studio, with around 20 staff being laid off or given an opportunity to quickly move to its New York City headquarters. HuffPost Live has around 100 full-time staffers. The news was first reported by VideoInk’s Sahil Patel, with The Verge’s Ben Popper adding more details.

Update: We have a statement from Roy Sekoff, the president of HuffPost Live:

“This isn’t about layoffs; it’s about reallocating resources,” Sekoff says. “We’ve offered more than two-thirds of our full-time production team in L.A. the same, or better, positions in New York.”

HuffPost Live has lost a number of hosts in recent months, mostly to the world of TV news. Alicia Menendez joined Fusion, Abby Hunstman joined MSNBC, and Jacob Soboroff joined Pivot. While it has been transformative in terms of the content it presents, its live viewership has remained low, instead relying heavily on after-the-fact tune-in.

It is also another example of an ambitious, web-first competitor to traditional TV news facing serious growing pains. HuffPost Live is available on cable via a daily programming block on AXS TV, but it has mostly avoided the traditional TV model. Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze, by comparison, has been trying to gain distribution as a traditional cable channel.

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Analysis: A Subtle Change In Branding Marks a Big Change For Fusion

Fusion, the upcoming cable news channel from ABC News and Univision, has ever so slightly shifted its focus, and it is a big deal. The change wasn’t exactly buried in the press release, no, it was right there in the first sentence:

“Fusion, the groundbreaking news, information and lifestyle network for Latinos and millennials, today announced the channel will launch in millions of households nationwide.”

Latinos and millennials. Fusion now wants to become the cable news channel for the under-30 set, in addition to its original positioning as a “news and lifestyle network for U.S. Hispanics,” which is how the channel was described when the name was announced in February.

On the one hand the move is an obvious one. Traditional cable news channels skew old, and in some cases very old. Fox News Channel’s average viewer is over 65, while the average MSNBC or CNN viewer is around 60, according to Nielsen. Your typical cable news anchor or host is an older, white male, with both women and minorities represented well below their representation in the country as a whole.

The median age of U.S. Hispanics is 27, compared to 37 for the country as a whole, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so targeting that demographic is naturally targeting younger viewers.

Fusion is betting that younger people actually want to get news and analysis from TV, not just from sites like BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post. To that end it has stacked its lineup with young hosts and anchors, although its signature nightly program will be anchored by the decidedly older (albeit well-respected) Jorge Ramos. It is also making a major push for news/satire programming, with a sports news comedy show at launch, and a project with the Jim Henson Company in the works.

Fusion is not the only channel trying to enter the space, others have the same idea too.
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The PM Ticker: Soboroff, Phillips, Aaronson

  • Former NBC News anchor Stone Phillips will be on the July 30 edition of Golf Channel’s news magazine show “In Play with Jimmy Roberts.” Phillips will report on the tricky debate over golf course water usage and conservation.

  • Al Jazeera America is adding Trevor Aaronson to its investigative journalism unit. A veteran of the Miami New Times and Commercial Appeal, he is also co-founder and associate director of the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.