The wave of video experiments coincides with the original innovator in cable news, CNN, tanking in the ratings. Earlier in the summer, the network slumped to its lowest ratings in certain demographics in over two decades. CNN’s worldwide president, Jim Walton, resigned, and the network is posting precipitous slumps whilst Fox News and MSNBC post double-digit growth.

The figures for consumption and revenues are thin. YouTube’s Election Hub shows 1.6 million convention video views and 26,000 subscribers—at a time when Fox News is scoring over 7 million viewers a night, these seem anemic. But sheer numbers at this stage is not quite the point. More relevant perhaps is that the quality of the shows, though rough in terms of production values, are editorially a match and more for cable; the Times and Wall Street Journal can out-analyze CNN; Philip DeFranco can out-quirk MSNBC. If the quality and regularity is maintained, the audiences are likely to follow.

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Emily Bell is director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a member of CJR's Board of Overseers.