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Nov. 7, 2017, 1:13 p.m.
Business Models
LINK: www.axios.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Christine Schmidt   |   November 7, 2017

New York Stock Exchange-based Cheddar, the online streaming financial news network launched by Jon Steinberg last year, is hoping its next move to better access remote guests could be another step in a local news expansion.

Axios’s Sara Fischer broke the story this morning that Cheddar is partnering with co-working space WeWork to bring in on-air guests via remote studios, but this could be a harbinger of a deeper connection to community-based news on the heels of the network’s Cheddar Local initiative started this summer.

“Local news is the ratings leader in markets across the country,” Steinberg told Poynter in July. “Everyone loves their local news, but if you’re in Des Moines, Iowa you can’t provide the same stock market coverage that you could if you were headquartered in the heart of the financial center of the world.”

The Cheddar Local model offers (there are free and paid choices) local TV stations taped and live packages from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, as part of Cheddar’s plan to expand across as many outlets as possible. It’s already pushed its content on Facebook Live, Twitter, Sling, Amazon, Vimeo, and Twitter and wants to set up distribution deals with streaming services.

“We’re making a big bet on connected televisions,” Steinberg explained to Business Insider at the start of the company. “And I don’t think the Apple TV market is as big as the phone market or the desktop market. But nobody is doing programming right now for people without cable boxes that have TVs on their walls, in offices, and have Rokus, Apple TVs and Chromecast connected to them … I take the belief that no one coming out of college is going to get a cable box.”

Having on-air guests connect through remote studios at WeWorks around the world rather than squinting at the camera through Skype, like the current setup of its 50-plus daily guest interviews, could help Cheddar up its game.

WeWork, with its live-play-work tagline of “make a life, not just a living,” has locations in 56 cities around the world. The company is trying new things too: It just created a private elementary school devoted to “conscious entrepreneurship” with a classroom split between a 60-acre farm and WeWork’s Manhattan headquarters, where students from ages five to eight are tutored in business from employees and WeWork entrepreneur-customers.

Steinberg, a former venture capitalist who joined BuzzFeed as president and COO before shifting to CEO of the Daily Mail’s North American online operation, launched Cheddar in January 2016. David Pierce of Wired, in describing Cheddar as the “would-be CNBC of the Internet,” explained how the setup works in March:

After almost a full year of broadcasting, Steinberg says Cheddar is up to a million live views per day across platforms, and is reaching the audience it wants: On Facebook, 60 percent of viewers are under 35. You can also find Cheddar’s shows on Twitter, Periscope, Vimeo, Amazon, iOS, Sling, Apple TV, and Roku, or even on platforms you’ve definitely never heard of, like Pluto and Xumo. For $2.99 a month, you can get access to exclusive interviews and the full Cheddar archive. The company’s growing up.

In the process, Cheddar’s programming has become far more polished—more like CNBC, but less formal. It has a pink logo with a slice of cheese, after all. Its shows feature hosts sitting behind a desk talking to expert guests—but the hosts are younger, more diverse, more prone to goof off mid-segment. On the day I visited, a segment about Trump and the economy derailed when the producers noticed the guest, Politico’s Peter Sterne, was wearing Apple’s new AirPods, which became the focus of the segment.

The partnership is a first for WeWork, too. “This deal is a good example of the way that we can start to program our own physical space while simultaneously offering a great opportunity for our members to get their share their stories with the world,” Axios quoted WeWork vice chair Michael Gross.

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