OTT Service Cheddar Now On the Cable Dial with New Deals

Cheddar, which debuted as a streaming service focused on financial news, just went live on Denver-based cable/broadband provider WOW. The company originally launched as a cable TV disruptor, but now is available to half of WOW’s 800,000 subscribers, in Alabama, Florida and Michigan. Cheddar also inked a deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative, which represents 840 small U.S. cable operators with 8 million households. This deal allows those smaller cable operators to include Cheddar in their packages.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Cheddar founder Jon Steinberg said that, “launching on traditional cable providers can help the company reach a broader audience, making its service more attractive to potential advertisers.”

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“I think it’s all converging,” he said. “The line between a digitally delivered channel, and an (over-the-top streaming) service and a traditional channel is always blurring. I don’t even know where the lines are anymore.”

Steinberg added that, “it elevates Cheddar’s brand to be carried in traditional cable packages alongside established news providers like CNN and CNBC.” Although he wouldn’t provide any dollar figures for either deal, Steinberg said “Cheddar has never paid any distributor for carriage.” More than 90 percent of Cheddar revenue comes from advertisers, including Dunkin Donuts and Fidelity Investments.

WOW, said senior vice president of programming Roger Seiken, is “hopeful that Cheddar will give the cable operator’s subscribers a fresh perspective on business news.” “To my knowledge, this is the first business or news channel of its kind that’s really focused on the young professional and millennial audiences,” he said. Steinberg, formerly president of BuzzFeed, “is pitching Cheddar as an alternative news service for millennial cord-cutters.”

Until these deals, Cheddar and Cheddar Big News have been “available in the basic packages of streaming services such as Sling, Philo, Hulu, YouTube TV and Molotov.” In spring this year, Cheddar acquired MTV Networks on Campus, “a small news and entertainment network piped into college campuses across the U.S.,” which it rebranded CheddarU. National Cable Communications sells advertising on CheddarU. WSJ calls this deal a sign that, “Cheddar wasn’t averse to distributing its content on a legacy network.”

Steinberg stated that the company should post “more than $25 million in revenue this year.” Earlier in 2018, the company “raised $22 million from investors including Raine Ventures, Liberty Global and Goldman Sachs, valuing the company at $160 million.”