‘News One Now’ Rises, Shines

TV One said its move to create a daily morning news show has delivered strong ratings numbers among its target audience of African- Americans while drawing in advertisers looking for a news and information vehicle to reach those consumers.

News One Now, the one-hour show hosted by veteran TV journalist Roland Martin, finished last year as the second most-watched show on broadcast or cable among its target audience of African-American viewers during its 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. timeslot, behind only NBC’s Today, per TV One.

With a sharp focus on current news topics told from an African-American perspective, TV One said News One Now bucks conventional thinking that viewers tuning into entertainment networks don’t want to see news content.

While TV One’s total audience of 77,000 viewers in the daypart is a fraction of traditional cable news network CNN’s 453,000 total viewers, more than 90% of News One Now’s audience is concentrated within the network’s target African-American demographic.

“We almost have an obligation to have a daily news program at the beginning of the day that uniquely deals with issues, news and stories that are important to the black community,” Brad Siegel, president of the 57 million- subscriber network, said. “There’s no one else in the marketplace providing that service.”

The series has helped bring in advertisers looking for a news vehicle to reach educated and often affluent viewers that tend to watch news programming, Siegel said. Examples include Allstate, ITN and, most recently, JP Morgan Chase, according to network officials.

News One Now initially launched in November of 2013 as a simulcast of the last hour of the three-hour News One Now radio program syndicated by TV One co-owner Radio One. But Siegel said given the success of TV One’s telecast, Radio One last month pulled the radio version of News One Now to focus on the television product.

Siegel said the network is “open” to potentially adding those two hours on the back end of the televised morning newscast, but added nothing has been decided.

“We want to make the hour-long News One Now the best possible hour it could be before we go beyond the hour,” he said.

The show ended 2014 on a high ratings note, bolstered by discussions on breaking news events including controversial grand jury decisions in the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the Staten Island, N.Y., death of Eric Brown at the hands of police.

In December the show posted record ratings highs among total viewers and in all key demos, according to TV One.

TV One is now looking at launching a potential late night news and entertainment series later this year, Siegel said, although he would not offer specific details.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.