ABC Kicks Off Social-Media Version of 'World News Tonight'

David Muir Will Host Videos That Live on Facebook

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Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News division is producing a social-media version of its "World News Tonight" program to attract mobile viewers.

The 1-minute-long news summaries will appear every weekday, starting today, on the show's Facebook page. In what the company said was a first for a network anchor, "Facecast: The One Thing" will be hosted by David Muir, who took over the evening newscast from Diane Sawyer in September.

The Facebook program will feature three or four topics, often focused on a statistic or photo that caught the news team's interest, Mr. Muir said in a telephone interview. It will also incorporate comments and story ideas suggested by viewers, he said.

"The nightly news is not a one-way street anymore," Mr. Muir said. "I Tweet during commercial breaks."

Media companies are stepping up their efforts to distribute their content digitally as viewing rises on tablets and smartphones. Time Warner Inc.'s CNN last month elevated Alex Wellen, the head of its CNNgo app, to become the network's first chief product officer as part of a broader effort to reach more mobile viewers.

Disney will unveil a more mobile-friendly version of its site in April. The company recently extended its Disney Movies Anywhere cloud-based storage service to Android devices and bolstered its Watch ABC app with social-media features, such as the ability to quickly share highlights from shows.

"World News Tonight" is in second place in audience ratings behind Comcast Corp.'s "NBC Nightly News," with just under 8 million daily viewers this season through Nov. 23, according to Nielsen data. Posts with video on the program's Facebook page get seven times as many viewers as non-video posts, the network said.

"Producing an original, fully-separate newscast just for Facebook users, who can access it conveniently and share as quickly, is a natural extension of delivering news in a world where it is frequently consumed on the go throughout the day," Almin Karamehmedovic, executive producer of the show, said in an e-mailed statement.

It's also an opportunity to use extra footage, such as pictures from an August trip Mr. Muir made to Syrian refugee camps. There's just so much, Mr. Muir said, "that doesn't fit into a 22- minute newscast at night."

--Bloomberg News

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