TVN Focus on New Media

OTT: Local TV's Latest Growth Opportunity

Determined not to be caught on the back foot by yet another powerful digital trend, some broadcasters are pushing out their local content on OTT platforms. “You have to be where the eyeballs are going,” says Guy Tasaka of Calkins Media, which developed an OTT platform for its media properties and is now selling it to others.“OTT is where the bulk of viewers are and will be, and if you’re not there, you’ll lose the audience to someone who is.”
TVNewsCheck,

Stephanie Slagle saw what was happening.

As director of digital strategy at Dispatch's CBS affiliate WBNS Columbus, Ohio (DMA 32), Slagle had noticed that millennials were moving away in droves from appointment-style TV viewing and toward over-the-top options accessed through smart TVs and set-top devices like Roku and Amazon Fire.

Story continues after the ad

Clutching an eMarketer report from last May laying out the size of that shift, she pleaded with others at the station that it was time to plant the flag on the OTT landscape. They came around.

“The report kind of became our rallying cry that we need to have a presence in this space,” she says.

WBNS, which is now continuously streaming newscasts via OTT, is one of a number of broadcasters and newspapers that are now experimenting with local or regional services on the OTT platform. Others include Tegna, Raycom, Graham Media and Scripps.

The legacy media are determined not to be caught on the back foot by yet another powerful digital trend.

Brand Connections

“You have to be where the eyeballs are going,” says Guy Tasaka, chief digital officer for Calkins Media, which developed an OTT platform for its media properties and is now selling it to others. “OTT is where the bulk of viewers are and will be, and if you’re not there, you’ll lose the audience to someone who is.”

The services tend to resemble each other in the broad strokes. They comprise linear channels of news and other content, much of it locally produced, supplemented by some of the same programming available on demand.

To receive the services, consumers must download an app onto their smartphones or smart TVs that have built-in OTT software that links the sets to the internet. Consumers without a smart TV need set-top boxes or dongles like Roku, Amazon and Apple TV.

According to MarketingCharts, four in 10 U.S. households own an OTT streaming device.

These OTT services mostly aren’t generating much revenue yet, but some broadcasters see serious potential down the line, along with content development opportunities they’ve never had on their own airwaves.

“Who’s to say whether all consumers will eventually be OTT consumers or not?" asks Scripps’ Laura Tomlin, VP of digital operations. "We don’t know, but it would be a missed opportunity not to have our strong local brands in places where consumers are. It’s really important for us to be in that space and see how it develops.”

At The Local OTT Vanguard 

As both a content and platform provider, Calkins was among the first to launch a full-blown local OTT service, at WWSB Sarasota, Fla. Its linear stream features original news and local magazine content replayed after the original airtime, along with syndicated content in areas where geographical restrictions don’t apply.

Calkins just sold WWSB and its two other small-market TV stations, but the buyer, Raycom Media, is maintaining the service and Calkins continues to forge ahead with OTT at all eight of its newspapers, including the Bucks County [Pa.] Courier Times, which runs original newscasts from newspaper staffers, thematically-arranged content and syndicated shows.

Tegna Media began streaming in June 2015, with each station offering a locally customized service. They include “a combination of local top news stories, the newscast as a live stream [and] unique local categories specific to each market,” says Frank Mungeam, VP of digital content.

Those original offerings include Land of 10,000 Stories for KARE Minneapolis, Grant McOmie’s Outdoors for KGW Portland, Ore., and Straight from the Heart for WBIR Knoxville, Tenn.

Raycom is working with an OTT platform from CMS provider Frankly to roll out services for its 62 stations. Live streaming will be augmented by news, lifestyle and sports content, including some original programming like The Southern Weekend, which the company runs on its own platforms as a digital-only feature.

“We’re creating a lot of Southeastern-oriented lifestyle content that creates the opportunity to do native ads within that,” says Joe Fiveash, SVP of digital and strategy.

Scripps has all 23 of its news-producing stations on an in-house-developed platform.

Dave Francois, senior director, product, says it runs all of its newscasts live, and most of it is delivered in VOD format, too. Each service also has a limited content integration with Newsy, the Scripps-owned, millennial-geared news service whose principal platform is its own OTT service.

Capitol Broadcasting's WRAL Raleigh, N.C., has been in the OTT game since 2015, streaming its live newscasts, Doppler radar and other locally produced programming, says John Conway, Capitol’s GM of digital platforms.

One of the more popular features has been live-streamed high school football games, of which six or seven are offered each week during the season. According to Conway, they are mostly low-production, single-camera affairs and inexpensive to put together, using part-time help or even the school’s own feed, though occasionally larger games will get the two or three-camera treatment and better production values.

It also offers a broad array of VOD choices — some 300-400 clips — ranging from consumer and entertainment franchises to loads of food-related content, Conway says.

Tags

Comments (7) -

RustbeltAlumnus2 Nickname posted 5 months ago
Good for them. It's an overdue strategy to get out of the "scheduled program" rut.
RustbeltAlumnus2 Nickname posted 5 months ago
Although it makes you wonder why they need broadcast spectrum anymore....
formergm Nickname posted 5 months ago
How about content folks actually want? (Hint: Not crime, car wrecks, or weather hype.)
BeyondTheBeltway Nickname posted 5 months ago
Most local broadcasters don't create content beyond news bites. Local TV is mostly a distribution outlet for content produced in NY and LA. Local TV is not needed in it's current form.
Doubtful Nickname posted 5 months ago
Actually in many markets the local stations' newscasts outperform any network-offered entertainment programming. Our 6PM newscast has a 2-3 time multiple of any of our network primetime programming. A lot of local stations are increasing their linear (as well as on-demand) news products to increase viewers, generate more revenue, and give viewers the choice to watch local news the way they choose. Local news-focused stations have a very viable product.
HopeUMakeit Nickname posted 5 months ago
so they did this without ATSC 3.0. ? so why is their such a rush to go there ?
John Schilberg posted 5 months ago
Stephanie Slagel, WBNS, nailed it on all counts. Time to start, learn and get ahead so you're NOT playing catch-up!
Marketshare Blog Playout Blog

Twitter

TVNewsCheck

Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for August 22, 2017
  • 1.
    2.1/9
  • 2.
    0.8/3
  • 3.
    0.6/2
  • 4.
    0.5/2
  • 5.
    0.4/2
  • 6.
    0.2/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Gail Pennington

    A sweet little show, low key and more smile-worthy than hilarious, ABC's Downward Dog won't be for everyone. Animal lovers are likely to find it adorable; cynics, unless they really, really love dogs, probably should stay away.

  • Neal Justin

    Tina Fey will inevitably let down her legions of TV fans with a real stinker. But not yet. The comic maestro, whom Rolling Stone recently ranked as the third greatest player in Saturday Night Live history, is following 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with NBC’s Great News, yet another fast-paced, perfectly absurd sitcom about a single woman trying to maintain a personal and professional life with Mary Richards-like spunk.

  • Jeanne Jakle

    Don’t go into the new round of Fargo expecting the grab-’em-by-the-throat shocks that opened previous seasons of TV’s chilliest crime anthology. The latest incarnation of the FX series from Noah Hawley takes its time worming into your mind and getting you hooked. Season three establishes its characters at a much more leisurely pace: the central quartet, the unscrupulous locals who surround them and the sinister interlopers who make these drab Minnesota lives more complicated and, eventually, scary as heck.

  • Daniel Fienberg

    In Brockmire, Hank Azaria's Funny or Die sportscaster works surprisingly well as a regular series lead on the new IFC show, costarring the excellent Amanda Peet. Over the course of the eight episodes, Brockmire moves through a trio of arcs, delivering underdog sports shenanigans, a relationship that makes more sense as it progresses and Brockmire's sad and probably doomed search for redemption. That's all propped up with enough low-brow jokes, raunchy baseball references and disreputable hijinks that the show never wallows. I reached the finale and was surprised at how much I wanted to see more from a character I initially thought couldn't sustain more than five minutes.

  • Maureen Ryan

    It’s appropriate that The Good Fight on CBS All Access has a slightly more jagged and splintered atmosphere than The Good Wife, the long-running CBS drama that starred Julianna Margulies. In the opening minutes of the first episode, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), watches as Donald Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president. Before the 50-minute pilot is over, the jarring changing of the guard in Washington is the least of her troubles. Baranski brings a heartbreaking rawness to her performance as Diane, who never got enough meaningful screen time on The Good Wife. Diane’s plight is thus personal but also metaphorical: She likens the collapse of every pillar of her supposedly solid and trustworthy world to a nightmare.

  • David Wiegand

    It’s hard to say which is more excessive in the new CBS crime thriller, Training Day: the action or the dialogue. But in either case, the series from Jerry Bruckheimer and Anthony Fuqua goes a long way toward waking up broadcast TV’s mid-season. There is plenty of action, enhanced by fast-paced editing, in the three episodes made available to critics. And there’s violence. But most of all, there is dialogue so rich and colorful, it almost evokes the stuff of guys like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, or at least Sgt. Joe Friday. Training Day just may get away with murder on Thursday nights when the numbers are counted.

  • Hank Stuever

    Well, they only had to remake a jillion TV shows from yesteryear to finally get one exactly, perfectly right. Not only is Netflix’s reimagined One Day at a Time a joy to watch, it’s also the first time in many years that a multicamera sitcom (the kind filmed on a set with studio-audience laughter) has seemed so instinctively comfortable in its own skin. It doesn’t try to subvert or improve on the sitcom format; it simply exhibits faith that the sitcom genre can still work in a refreshing and relevant way.

This advertisement will close automatically in  second(s). You will see this ad no more than once a day. Skip ad