Following an initial beta phase that got underway about three months ago, CNN has moved ahead with the national launch of CNNx, a next-generation TV Everywhere application that features the network’s live, linear channel alongside an array of on-demand content and related digital and interactive features that give viewers full control of the experience.
Introduced at the Upfronts in April and slated for demos at the Television Critics Association summer tour on Thursday, CNNx is now available across Turner’s full TV Everywhere footprint, which covers more than 85 million homes and north of 200 MVPD partners, including Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse, Verizon Communications FiOS, Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications, and Charter Communications.
Built around a simulcast of the live CNN feed, CNNx also provides access to a rundown of topics previously covered and what’s coming up on-air, and on-demand access to the day’s current shows and those that ran the day prior. The VOD component of CNNx also lets authenticated users stream CNN’s “featured” longer-form, scripted programming and documentaries. CNNx complements that with deeper digital coverage of on-air news topics, such as articles, video clips, interviews, and photos. The app also carves out a discrete area alongside the bottom to present a news ticker that viewers would see on the primary CNN TV broadcast.
An overarching goal with CNNx is to “redefine the news experience for users,” said Michael Quigley, vice president, business development and multiplatform distribution at Turner Broadcasting.
For the national launch, CNNx now becomes the default TVE app for CNN on iPads and Web browsers. CNN is also looking to extend the CNNx experience to set-top boxes with integrated IP capabilities later this year, Quigley said.
CNNx was offered initially to group of beta users from a subset of Turner’s TVE MVPD partners from the cable, satellite and telco TV realms. Quigley said CNN learned during that test period that the product and its new features worked consistently and were likewise capable of scaling up during high traffic periods that are typically driven by breaking news. He added that results of the beta phase validated that the new features of CNNx resonated with users.
Quigley said CNNx was developed to help take TVE to the next level, taking it beyond the initial promise to provide authenticated access of live TV feeds and on-demand content to multiple types of IP-connected screens. Among items on the to-do list, CNN will look to extend dynamic ad insertion to the app's live and on-demand content.
Noting that CNNx is the first release of the programmer’s next-gen TVE platform, Quigley said CNN is also looking for new ways to drive viewer engagement via the app. “What more can we do? CNNx is scratching the surface on answering that question,” he said.