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CBS outsourcing reporting to CNN? Either they think Katie Couric is a core competency or they’re running-out the clock on network news 4/8/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in CBS, CNN.

Today’s basic formula for running a successful business is do what you do best, and outsource the rest. So, if it’s true that CBS is in talks with CNN to outsource reporting, they must think they can’t compete in news gathering, but can with its news stars, like Katie Couric, right? That seems like a stretch given Katie Couric’s poor ratings vs. the other network anchors, and her lack of a passionate following compared to cable personalities like Bill O’Reilly, Jon Stewart, Anderson Cooper, and Keith Olbermann.

In fact, the only reasonable explanation for CBS’ interest in letting CNN handle their reporting is that they are running-out the clock until the end of network news. They plan to milk the remaining profits until all news moves to cable and the Internet, while getting the most possible value out of Couric’s expensive and unfortunate contract. As I have mentioned, CBS was never particularly interested in making money from network news anyway, but simply considered it a cost of doing business. It was a way to demonstrate good corporate citizenship by airing government-friendly programming, ensuring renewal of their profitable, government-issued broadcast licenses. But in the new, relatively unregulated world of new media, no government licenses are needed. Personalities like Katie Couric and Vanna White will compete head-to-head for CBS’ valuable air time, and whoever draws the biggest audience wins. The wheel of fortune is now slowing on network news, and ultimately it will land on “bankrupt.” (H/T: Bob McCarty)


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