CBS News, ESPN, and The Weather Channel are staffing up as they ramp up production for the Hollywood veteran Jeffrey Katzenberg's planned video-streaming service Quibi.
The three publishers have Quibi-specific producer job listings on LinkedIn. Quibi has also struck programming deals with NBC News and the BBC for the platform, which is set to launch in April 2020. The publishers' shows will be featured on "Daily Essentials," its curated news and information programming hub.
CBS News, ESPN and The Weather Channel are assembling Quibi teams
CBS, which is adapting its "60 Minutes" for Quibi into a 6-minute version called "60 in 6," has said it would dedicate a team of correspondents and producers to the show. CBS has been interviewing candidates for a broadcast associate, an associate producer and producer to work on it, the company said.
ESPN has a licensing agreement with Quibi to produce a daily sports highlights program and is seeking an associate, an associate producer and a producer for it. A spokeswoman confirmed ESPN was hiring a team to create the show.
The Weather Channel, which is making a daily weather show for Quibi, is hiring a director, producer, broadcast systems engineer and a motion designer and still finalizing its Quibi strategy, a spokeswoman told Business Insider.
NBC News said it's still finalizing its staffing plans for its morning and evening news show. But NBC News President Noah Oppenheim has said it would likely assign at least 24 employees to the show.
The BBC for its part, plans to use existing staffers, from its World News TV bulletins team, to make its Quibi show, said Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News.
Quibi's deals could be good bets for publishers burned by platforms in the past
While platforms have been an uneven revenue stream for publishers, things have started to look up. Snapchat Discover is a revenue driver for Group Nine, while Hearst's Cosmopolitan, ESPN and NBCUniversal are seeing growth on the platform, Digiday reported.
Facebook and Apple News are increasingly catering to publishers, too. Facebook is paying publishers to make shows for its Watch video section and just rolled out a dedicated news section last week and is reportedly paying some publishers $3 million a year to supply their content to it. Publishers can also sell subscriptions through Apple News, and Apple has also started to share revenue with publishers that are part of its Apple News Plus news bundle.
Quibi may be a good bet for publishers, said a source familiar with the company's dealmaking.
Like Facebook, Quibi is largely paying publishers licensing fees to develop content and then buying exclusive rights to it over long time frames — so the publisher ultimately retains ownership of the IP, according to earlier reports and the source.
"It's a calculated risk, because you're getting paid to cover production costs and making money on what you're doing," the source said. "And it's unlike traditional Hollywood deals, because you still retain the IP."