Using the service, "you can choose what news you want and watch it when you want to, instead of going home and turning on the six o'clock news and having them force feed you the news," Nicholas Ascheim, editorial director for Fox News Online, said today.
"At this point, Internet news is as much as part of the package as TV and print, and to not have it means you're not serious about news," Ascheim said. He added that Fox's goal is to offer content that complements its TV coverage.
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With the explosive popularity of the Net in the past two years and the vast expansion of cable, television networks have found themselves having to compete in different arenas with many new players. The TV networks enter the game with already-established brand names and popular content and personalities built in, which gives them a leg up over some of their Web-only content competitors.
To differentiate themselves, the TV networks have tried different approaches to news and other content along with multimedia bells and whistles to draw traffic and the ad dollars that come with it.
CBS tried a different approach: The network has its own site, and its affiliate stations also have sites connected to it. Within those individual station sites are links to CBS News content, so users can get local news and weather on the front page of their news site, then click through to get broader coverage. Also, upon visiting the CBS.com site, users can enter their zip code and get localized content including news as well as other TV programming information.
Fox News Online decided to offer the customized video service because "we put a lot of emphasis on video from the beginning, and our viewers love it--a lot," Ascheim said.
To see a customized newscast on Fox News Online, users "check" boxes on the video page to select the stories they want to view from within six categories: news, business, sports, health, sci-tech, and weather.
The newscast is played using the RealPlayer streaming tool from RealNetworks. It connects all the stories selected by the user, without the user having to return to the index page, Fox said. According to the site, the streaming video is available to users with 28.8-kbps or faster connections. The news is updated throughout the day.