Originally Posted on Forbes

“Hear ye, hear ye, read all about it.” This phrase has been hawked loudly for well over 100 years to alert the public to big news (or sometimes not so big). “Extra, extra, read all about it”, is the same basic idea. Historically the content industry has promoted its stories and shows to encourage the public to check them out.

The Web and our digital services all seem to have notifications, alerts, promotions, etc. bringing important (and sometimes not so important) information to our attention. The news is everywhere, but letting the people know where to find the breaking news stories is a constant effort of search, notifications and alerts. While some people may complain about these alerts, others will tell you that they gather a good sense of the news, over the course of a day, from the alerts and notifications they receive from news sources, often on social media platforms.

CBS VIAC -0.2%N, the 24-hour news streaming service of CBS, has grown considerably since its launch in 2014 and now regularly has millions of viewers watching their breaking news stories. CBSN has had big peaks in their ratings during major live events, such as presidential debates, Covid briefings, and protests, as well as big news in the major local markets where CBS’ local TV stations program a locally-oriented CBSN feed.

CBSN has just launched a new service for the Roku connected TV platform, a major distribution platform for CBNS, called “Video Push Alerts,”. These alerts are a lot like what you would get on a mobile phone alert and promote live news events to CBSN viewers across the 12 major local CBS station news markets. The Video Push Alerts were tested, pre-launch, on the Apple TV system.

Hollywood Reporter announced this new feature from CBSN today. During an interview with Christy Tanner, executive vp and GM of CBS News Digital, she said to The Reporter, “Think of how ubiquitous mobile push alerts are. These are the same thing, for our CBS News app ecosystem. We are going to have the ability to alert you when something interesting newsworthy and live is happening in one of our 12 live streams.” The markets include: New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Boston, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Denver, Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth.

With the election approaching rapidly no doubt there will be many alerts about rallies, scandals, announcements, and controversies boiling the news’ waters.

In an email exchange with this contributor, Ms. Tanner expanded on her thoughts about the importance of local live programming, saying, “With video push alerts, CBSN continues to lead the marketplace in both editorial and technology innovation. Now, our producers can easily let viewers know when something is breaking on one of our 12 live streams, delivering on our mission of public service by putting the spotlight on our reporters’ excellent work.” 

“When we do research, we hear people say that their most trusted outlet is their local news,” Tanner says. “We recognize that value, and we wanted to be able to be the first mover in local streaming at a national level, so that people can stay connected to their communities, wherever they are.”

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ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, is building its business in many markets around the world where TikTok has been expanding and gaining a lot of traction, such as India and the U.S.

TechCrunch has recently reported that ByteDance is considering an investment from Reliance Industries, Ltd., a huge Indian conglomerate active in many areas, including telecommunications/mobile phone services. Reliance operates Jio Platforms, a major telecommunications and digital services company, that has received investments recently from Facebook, as well as a major private equity firm, Silver Lake Partners. Reliance would specifically be backing the Indian operations of TikTok. This investment would presumably give Reliance a major position in TikTok.

In addition to President Trump’s executive orders seeking to ban TikTok and WeChat, TikTok has also been under the gun in India. Earlier this summer the Indian government banned TikTok, at the same time blocking dozens of other digital services, including WeChat, the hugely popular communications and social media platform that dominates the Chinese Internet.

Despite the ban, many Indians are circumventing the government’s blockade of TikTok, by accessing the Internet through a VPN, or virtual private network, which allows someone to browse the Web and download apps without their true geographic location being detected, as well as providing other privacy benefits.

The Indian government indicated the ban was instituted to protect national security and due to concerns about data privacy for Indian users of TikTok. ByteDance and TikTok have repeatedly assured governments and consumers that the data from TikTok’s users is secure and not shared with the Chinese government.

India is a very important market to China, and is reported to be the second biggest market, after China, for TikTok, with over 200 million users. ByteDance is being smart about not just looking for investments from local companies in the markets where TikTok competes, but searching for investments from corporations, in key countries where they operate. A similar strategy has been used for decades by U.S. and European companies seeking business in China, Japan and the Middle East.

ByteDance shows with the Reliance discussions that they know it is smart to seek partnerships with local companies that have major influence in their markets and have earned great respect in their countries, such as Reliance in India. These investments represent not just the international nature of Internet businesses, but also show that ByteDance wants to be a true international company.

TikTok has many competitors that are positioning to take advantage of the TikTok bans in India and the U.S. These companies include Dubsmash and Triller, as well as Reels, recently launched by Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Clearly a lot of companies want to compete in the world of user generated videos online.

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