Morning Media Newsfeed: Sony Launches Vue TV | Nightly News Gets Ratings Boost

Sony launches Vue TV service. NBC Nightly News sees ratings boost from rebroadcasts. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Sony’s PlayStation Vue Online TV Service Launches at $50 A Month (Re/code / Reuters)
Sony on Wednesday launched its PlayStation Vue Web video service in three cities, targeting customers looking for cheaper alternatives to cable with packages starting at $50. Deadline Prices for Vue begin at $49.99 a month for a package of about 50 channels that include broadcast (in local markets for network-owned stations) and cable services from CBS, Time Warner, Viacom, Discovery, Fox, NBC Universal and Scripps Networks — AMC joins the lineup next month. Conspicuously absent: Disney and Univision. WSJ The $69.99 package tacks on a smattering of smaller channels like Palladia, Chiller and Cloo. Vue customers will also be able to watch Sony’s original series programmed for PlayStation users, the first of which is the supernatural drama Powers. Sony also doesn’t have HBO, Showtime and other premium channels typically offered as add-ons to cable packages. Variety On Wednesday, Sony began marketing PlayStation Vue to consumers in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, aimed at owners of PS3 and PS4 videogame consoles. Unlike Dish Network’s Sling TV, the satcaster’s stripped-down, $20-per-month service targeted at cost-sensitive consumers, PlayStation Vue is designed to be a full replacement for traditional cable and satellite TV — but, supposedly, with a more personalized view into what to watch. NYT Eventually, it is expected to be available on the iPad and in other U.S. cities. Adweek At this point, it looks a lot like a la carte is coming, whether the industry likes it or not, and it would be foolish not to see these moves by huge tech and telecommunication players as an attempt to supplant traditional cable plans. Smaller Web-based packages appear attractive to the consumer, largely because they look like cheaper cable subscriptions. But that’s not what they are.

NBC’s Nightly News Gets Boost From Rebroadcasts (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
For more than a month now, NBC News has been trumpeting the ratings successes of Nightly News in the aftermath of the Brian Williams scandal. Lester Holt, Williams’ replacement, has kept the show at No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings, beating out ABC’s World News by tens of thousands of viewers in the all-important 25-to-54 year-old demo most weeks. TVNewser NBC News has quietly begun airing rebroadcasts of NBC Nightly News in select markets, including, “Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle and at least half a dozen other major urban areas” in the overnight hours between 2 and 4 a.m. WSJ / CMO Today While the potential audience in that hour is tiny, so is the gap between NBC and ABC in the evening news ratings race, and every eyeball counts. Last week, only 11,000 viewers separated first place NBC from No. 2 ABC, according to Nielsen. While it isn’t known whether the night owls provided the margin of victory, it certainly didn’t hurt. Variety The tactic lends support to Nightly News as its performance is being watched to see if it weakens in Williams’ absence. The anchor was suspended for six months after he acknowledged falsifying an account of a reporting trip to Iraq in 2003. Since that disclosure, NBC News has been engaged in an investigation of that incident, as well as others involving the anchor.

Donald Trump Forms Presidential Exploratory Committee (FishbowlNY)
Bad news for Republicans — Donald Trump has formed a presidential exploratory committee. Mediaite Trump has bandied about a presidential run in the past, most notably in 2012, to the point that many have concluded it’s a self-promotional scam. However this is the first time Trump has formed an exploratory committee, a major funding step toward running for real. THR “I am the only one who can make America truly great again,” the Republican businessman and reality television star declared in a statement announcing the move. Trump said he’s already hired political aides in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which host the first three contests on the presidential nominating calendar. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media NBC Entertainment is planning to go ahead with production of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, Season 15, despite the fact that the real estate mogul is reportedly dropping the show in order to form a presidential exploratory committee. “The show has been picked up for another season, production dates TBD,” an NBC Entertainment source said.