Cheddar Inc. launched two years ago as a news and business channel aimed at at young-ish audience that would be carried via social media, smart TV and mobile. Two years on and global expansion is high on Cheddar's agenda.
Here the company's executive vice-president, Melissa Rosenthal (who will be speaking at Digital Innovators' Summit 2018), outlines Cheddar’s vision, details its impressive growth and explains its unique approach to native advertising.
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The Cheddar team rang the New York Stock Exchange bell on occassion of its second birthday earlier in January this year. Photo: NYSE
Cheddar is actually only two years old, but I guess we can be considered a vet because the space is still so nascent. Cheddar is a live and on-demand video news network focused on covering innovative products, technologies and services transforming our lives. Cheddar was created because of two specific trends we noticed in the media industry. The first being there was no network filling the void of business news for young people. The median age of CNBC and Fox Business is 67. The hypothesis, when the company was started, was that there was a hunger for this sort of content and we were right.
That's the second trend we looked at when we started the company. We call ourselves a "post-cable network" because our distribution is where the future of cable is headed, social and OTT. Young people are cutting the cord at a faster rate than ever before. In fact, as of the end of 2017, 22 million US adults have cancelled cable, satellite, and telco tv services. By 2021, a total of 81M U.S. adults will have cut the cord.
Social has been our primary driver of growth. We have two types of viewers, the social viewers who scroll by and watch on Facebook and Twitter, and people who are watching us via OTT. Additionally, we've carved out a niche for ourselves in social video. We focus on gadgets and cool concept technology, which is another top of the funnel marketing tool for us. Many people are sharing Cheddar content on LinkedIn and Facebook. The goal is to build a strong brand and become the network of choice for those watching via Sling, Amazon, Pluto, Philo, etc.
We are living in the future. Every day you hear news of Uber rolling out an autonomous fleet of vehicles and cryptocurrency being the new gold rush. It's not just investors who are interested in business news, these companies are playing a major lives in the roles of their users and consumers. Our sweet spot is 24-34 year olds who are interested in technology and want to stay abreast of what's happening in society with the companies that they interact with every day. Additionally, in Q1 of this year we are launching our second network, "Cheddar Big News," which will be modelled after CNN's Headline News in that it will focus on big news stories in the day, but done in the style and sentiment of local news.
Definitely. The learnings from developing and growing BuzzFeed's native advertising product were integral in shaping our advertising product at Cheddar. Additionally, much of our senior leadership comes from BuzzFeed, so there are a lot of similarities in the way we've structured the company.
Our monetisation strategy is actually much less focused on subscriptions and more on carriage fees and innovative ad products for advertisers.
We work collaboratively with our partners to integrate branded segments into our programming. The big difference between the live products our competitors offer and ours is that we are working with our brand partners to create the segments and shows they are buying. One example of a great partnership is what we're doing with Quicken Loans for Rocket Mortgage. We do a 30 minute weekly show co-programed with Quicken around Real Estate for millennials. We cover trends in the market, have great guests, and give tips and advice for young homebuyers. All of our partnerships are incredibly unique. We currently work with AmEx, TradeStation, Dunkin' Donuts, Fidelity, and Ally Bank to name a few!
Yes, global expansion will definitely be a part of our growth. Starting with distribution and then eventually expanding into a live presence in new markets. London is launching in 2018 and will likely expand in other markets later this year.
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