/// Lee Abrams’ Next Project: A News Network on All Platforms

July 8, 2013  |  Media Week

Lee Abrams left Tribune amid a serious uproar less than three years ago, but the radio entrepreneur is back—with a project that is perhaps the most ambitious undertaking thus far in a career than includes major roles in the creation of both Radio Disney and XM Radio. He wants to remake the news. XM, Abrams said, “wasn't really the place to reinvent news and information,” and nor was Tribune—”they went through all the bankruptcy and craziness” while he was there, Abrams said frankly. “We thought we'd do it without layers and layers of history and conference rooms full of people who were going to question it.” So he and his partner Steve Saslow have formed a newsroom staffed by more than 100 folks from local television stations around the country and created a user interface that can be accessed online, on mobile and on tablets. They're calling the new product TouchVision (last year, when it was still being roughed out, the venture was called Think Television), and they're hoping to expand to television as well. They're pitching not MSOs but stations with spare spectrum on the digital sub-channel wavelength—an ever-more-popular piece of broadcast real estate. For those who've spent a while watching television news, a question arises: why bother reinventing it at all? Why not let it migrate onto the Web? Abrams is quick with an answer: “You could drive a truck through the potential for news among 18-44s,” he said. “You have TMZ, and it's great, and then you have Fox News and so forth and that's great, too—very successful. There's a new opportunity to reach the mainstream Americans who find TMZ amusing but kind of dumb, and the [older-skewing] stuff kind of boring. We're looking for a way to find an audience for whom there's nothing really directly servicing their needs.” Saslow is a less-public figure than Abrams—his resume includes stints as CEO of the Verance Corporation , a company that developed the watermarking software used in all Blu-Ray players, and concert promoter SFX Entertainment

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Lee Abrams’ Next Project: A News Network on All Platforms



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