Local broadcasters launch video streaming to reach wider audiences

As viewers continue to migrate from traditional TV to streaming video, local TV broadcasters have launched their own streaming services. At the beginning of September, 200 local televisions stations have launched VUit (pronounced “View It”), a new streaming provider. Stations owned by Gray Television participated in the launch

GTN
(with 94 stations covering 24% of U.S. TV homes), as well as Meredith, Cowles Media Company, Heritage Broadcasting Group, and Morgan Murphy Media. The consortium hopes to add more groups of TV channels.

VUit is ad-supported and free to viewers, it will not be geo-fenced, streaming content will be available to national audiences and national advertisers, via iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon

AMZN
Fire, Chromecast, Apple TV and more. One of the goals is to make their content more accessible to viewers and to increase advertising revenue. Another goal is to reach young viewers who are much more likely to watch streaming content than local broadcast stations. A recent study by Hub Entertainment Research found that 50% of all consumers turn to an online service as their first source when they switch on the television.

With viewers seeking information on the pandemic, ratings of local television have increased dramatically. A Nielsen survey found during the pandemic, 64% of consumers who watched the news first turned to local television, more than national cable news or national broadcast news. Despite the increase in ratings, with many local businesses temporarily closed, advertising revenues from local television decreased by 30% in the second quarter of 2020. With more advertising budgets allocated to digital, VUit will also offer a new online opportunity to local advertisers while creating an additional source of revenue for local stations.

According to BIA, local television advertising revenue should be relatively stable in the coming years. In 2020, BIA estimates that the advertising budget for local television will amount to $ 20 billion, falling to $ 19.1 billion in 2021 and $ 20.1 billion in 2022. In contrast, BIA predicts that revenues local online video advertisers will grow from $ 2.4 billion in 2020 to $ 2.8 billion in 2021. In addition, local OTT is expected to grow from $ 1.1 billion this year to $ 1.3 billion. dollars in 2021.

Local stations have agreed to develop 12 live originals for VUit each month, with content ranging from news and sports to concerts and cultural events. Collectively, the consortium plans to broadcast on 3 million hours of live content with approximately 2,500 originals each year. VUit will also aggregate and cross-promote content among member stations.

Behind VUit’s technology is Syncbak, which began testing the service in February. In the past, Syncbak has taken broadcast signals and converted them to streaming content for Hulu, CBS

VIAC
All Access (soon Paramount Plus) and fuboTV. In a statement, Jack Perry, CEO of Syncbak said, “We aim to be the Netflix

NFLX
to live, local and free.

Using Syncbak’s advertising platform, stations will be able to target viewers beyond local television markets. In addition, stations will be able to use Syncbak’s technology to sell dynamic, live ad insertions via adSync to insert ads nationwide.

VUit joins an increasingly crowded group of large resort groups developing their own over-the-top advertising-funded initiatives. The Sinclair Broadcast Group

SBGI
which owns 191 local stations launched STIRR in 2019, Tegna launched Premion in 2018 and Nexstar Media Group

NXST
, which owns 196 stations, launched Nexstar Digital in 2015. In 2014, CBS launched CBSN, a streaming news provider for ten local TV markets (and more are planned), all available nationwide . Additionally, earlier this year, NBCU launched NBC Spot On, selling advanced advertising on 42 NBC and Telemundo stations and digital properties.

Rick Ducey, CEO of BIA, said, “Netflix, Amazon, Roku and other brands have standardized OTT and CTV viewing in the media habits of viewers. They now master the technology, have learned to enjoy the user experience, and now place higher expectations on the viewing experience offered by local TV channels. In the short term, integrating viewers lost to cord cuts and new media habits on OTT is a vital strategy for local TV groups. In the longer term, this OTT user experience can be further improved and differentiated from the competition as ATSC 3.0 continues to roll out. “

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