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What Does CNN Have In The Pipeline?

CNN first started teasing us with vague plans for a “premium product” on CNN.com a month and a half ago. The press release said it would have “more options and features than any other online news and information site.” In May, a CNN executive said new product will let users “have control over their news consumption in groundbreaking ways;” CNN VP Susan Grant said “it’s fair to say it will be unlike anything you’re seen before.” A couple weeks ago, Grant called it an “incredibly unique online news experience.”

So what is it? CNN is keeping a tight lid on the project, but TVNewser has learned a few new details about it. “The new CNN broadband service is going to be called CNN Pipeline,” a tipster says.

According to the tipster, CNN Pipeline subscribers will have access to a live CNN.com newscast from 8am to 8pm. A second source confirmed that the product will be “on” for 12 hours a day. It’s rather logical: It’s targeted toward “cubicle hours,” until 5pm on the West Coast. The scope of this project is impressive: CNN is dedicating substantial resources to produce 12 hours of news a day for the Internet.

CNN Pipeline will allow a subscriber to access a variety of live feeds — some of the same ones that CNN producers have access to. If you’ve had your fill of headlines from the CNN Pipeline anchor, you can change the channel and watch the White House press briefing or a press conference.

“CNN Pipeline” may not be the final name for the project. TVNewser first broke the news about CNN’s online channel aspirations in May 2004, when it was known internally as “CNN NewsStream Live.” That report still rings true: “The channel will target users at work without a TV nearby…CNN’s television feeds cannot be simulcasted online, due to cable licensing restrictions.”

At the end of May, a tipster said: “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, and if successful, it could turn the news business upside down. No hype, no exaggeration.” Hopefully we’ll see it soon.

> May 2004: “The marketplace for these services is plausible, and certainly large,” former MSNBC.com EIC Merrill Brown said.

> November 2004: “Some CNNers had hoped the channel would premiere in the first quarter of 2005, but the project has been delayed.”

> May 2005: “CNN’s plan of streaming an entirely new live channel of content seems like a significant waste of money and resources.”

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