Business news streaming network Cheddar is being acquired by cable operator Altice USA for $200 million in an all-cash deal—that’s a lot of cheddar. The move underscores the competitive, and growing, landscape of the streaming space, which continues to produce moves from traditional networks that want their own piece of the OTT pie.
The acquisition will bring Altice News, which includes broadcasting properties News 12 and i24NEWS, further into the live streaming fray. Meanwhile, it helps Cheddar reach a hyper-local audience, and scale Cheddar’s ad inventory.
Using Altice’s a4 ad platform, Cheddar plans on placing its ad inventory into News 12 and i24NEWS channels, and support it with local targeting, as well as on Altice One, Alice USA’s connected service with TV, internet, and streaming apps. Cheddar says it plans on developing additional ad products for Altice USA properties as well.
Jon Steinberg, founder and CEO of Cheddar, will transition to lead all of Altice News.
“Our goal is to make Altice News a leader in local, business, national, and international news everywhere as we look to build a live news offering for customers in the traditional pay TV ecosystem, as well as those looking to a la carte alternative SVOD services, vMVPDs, and free systems for their non-news entertainment,” said John Steinberg in a company statement.
Cheddar produces 19 hours of live news a day and is available in 40 million homes on ad-supported services like Roku, Pluto TV, YouTube TV, Sling, Hulu Live and DirecTV Now, as well as 1,600 screens in public areas of 600 college campuses through its network CheddarU. The network sees more than 400 million video views a month and draws in a young millennial audience from ages 25 to 34. Cheddar conducts its live broadcasts from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and has a live streaming partnership with Twitter.
The partnership is not new. Altice News started investing in Cheddar in 2017, and since then has included Cheddar content in its broadcasts. In 2018, the Cheddar app became available on the Altice One Platform where subscribers had free access to its content.
The deal comes as advertisers attend IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts in New York City, where streaming platforms and measurement is a top topic of conversation, and it’s no surprise. Traditional TV networks are either buying up streaming platforms or are launching their own. This year, Viacom bought Pluto TV to stream shows from its networks like MTV and Comedy Central, and Disney recently announced a November launch date for its new Disney+ platform.
“This deal makes sense, and we’re likely to some more transitionals like this one,” says Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at Publicis. “As more and more consumers unplug, audiences get more fragmented, and opportunities for new distribution models and content strategies emerge. Legacy media companies buying new media companies to stay relevant is going to be common pattern for the next several years.”
The deal is expected to close within two months.