ABC’s Evening News Podcast Is Least Lame

ABC (DIS), which has been a bit slow out of the gates with its overall digital strategy, is actually doing some cool stuff with its evening news, the New York Times points out today. The ABC World News team has evolved its podcast over the last 20 months to be a separate and original program using first-person blogs and videos, tackling Google’s (GOOG) daily list of newly popular search terms, and — strange but true — running its segments a little longer on the web than the standard TV newsbite.


The program is apparently viewed and downloaded 4.5 million times per month — not bad at all for an online show, but small when compared with the number of people who still participate in the archaic tradition of gathering round the telly each night to watch a familiar face run through news they could easily have found hours ago by going online.

As you might have guessed, I’m not one of those people, so after reading the Times article I went to iTunes this morning to do a little first-person reporting. Below is the basic info for the latest episode of each show as of Friday at about 8:30 a.m. Pacific.

ABC World News; originally aired 10/11/07; duration 18:02
NBC Nightly News; originally aired 10/10/07; duration 26:29
CBS Evening News; originally 10/4/07 (!); no duration listed; failed to download (“err = -3253,” anyone?)

CBS (CBS) actually refused to give download numbers to the New York Times, which the Times surmised was due to embarrassment over being last place in the broadcast ratings. Perhaps the network could raise its online stats if its video actually worked!

To be fair, CBS’s main strategy is to stream its program live on NBC (GE), by contrast, has the dumbest strategy of all: delaying posting its full program until 10 p.m. each night, well after it’s aired and the news has become even more stale. However, if you count bits and pieces of the its Nightly News on, NBC reports 10 million video views per month.