Millennial Pandering: A New Age Finance Company Resurrects Rabbit Ears & UHF

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By Heat Street Staff | 11:07 pm, April 20, 2017
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Some companies don’t really need to exist.

The self-described millennial digital finance news start-up “Cheddar” says it is partnering with Dunkin Donuts to distribute new age TV rabbit ears and program a few long forgotten UHF television channels with its roster of guests on public relations tours.

It’s strange news because here are a few things which are likely not true: Millennials all over the country are crying out for new linear television networks. Those who do care about finance news want to watch linear television and have free antennas  from Dunkin Donuts. Again, not likely.

For people under the age of 40, or maybe it’s 50, UHF used to mean (still means) the high numbered channels on the television dial when there was actually a dial. The channels often came in fuzzy unless you had an antenna. And you could optimize the signal by wrapping the rabbit ears in tin foil. Now, the millennial centric folks at millennially focused Cheddar have a great product extension for millennials.

“Cheddar will air on so-called UHF sub channels, bits of the spectrum that came into use when broadcasters switched to digital signals. Its videos will appear in Cleveland; Orlando, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri — on channel 42.5 in the latter market,” according to Bloomberg.

Cheddar’s founder Jon Steinberg, who knows a lot about digital (just ask him), received his investment money and valuation for Cheddar because he’s riding the dramatic shift in distribution of video from traditional linear cable and television to digital and mobile, or so-called “over the top” distribution.

“Anywhere we can provide a stream that replicates that cable news viewing experience is where we’re going to be,” Steinberg told Bloomberg, aka a company that produces information and data people actually can use to make money.

Cheddar used some nice initial numbers on Facebook (with the help of algorithm inflation for video views) and its founder’s panache to lock-in that investor money. “A strong entrepreneur.” “Amazing sector to be in.”

You wonder if any of these guys ever watch the daily drone of guests touting their latest made-to-order fashion company or their socially responsible trash disposal app. Sometimes Cheddar spices it up with big name CEOs whose communications folks have told them it’s good to get in front of the millennials who are allegedly watching.

Cheddar claims some young people are buying antennas to watch the broadcast programming that’s still available over the top. And cites data that broadcast homes are actually increasing as people “cut the chord” from cable. Maybe that is indeed the case for a little while.

Steinberg is trying to do anything he can to make the case that Cheddar should be the finance news source in the new “skinny bundles” of subscription video programming which are being rolled out by numerous players such as Hulu, Google, and Verizon. So maybe UHF and Dunkin Donuts is a brilliant move. Now he can say he’s got a linear channel. It’s like Buzzfeed running a loop of people baking brownies while giving tips for gender-fluid, vegan dating and then calling it A&E.

By the time Cheddar gets bought out for a too high price by a nervous/clueless old media company we hope there is a little more meat and a little less cheese.