Exec will try to get more stations to put more content on streaming service
Kevin Dunaway, who spent 22 years at TV stations in Traverse City, Mich., was named VP of affiliate relations and content development for VUit, the over-the-top streaming service featuring programming from local stations.
In his new position, Dunaway will educate local broadcast stations on the value of VUit, and help them create innovative OTT programming for the service. He’s also overseeing VUit’s in-house production efforts that serve as proof-of-concept for stations, and VUit’s “Studio 39” and live street camera in New York City.
At WWTV, Dunaway pushed the envelope while pushing content over the top, including broadcasting more than 10 hours of the I-500, a Michigan snowmobile race.
“We’ve been pursuing Kevin for a long time. We call him the king of OTT,” said Jack Perry, CEO of Syncbak, VUit’s parent company.
“My direction to Kevin was you just go[t] to clone yourself and get out there and reach all the other broadcasters. He speaks their language, He’s been there, done that.”
VUit was launched in September, with more than 200 stations and an investment from Gray Television.
Dunaway started as news producer at WWTV, owned by Heritage Broadcasting, moved up to news director in 2000 and general manager in 2016.
Dunaway said VUit will help stations take advantage of the creativity they have in their newsrooms and show them that putting programming on OTT is easy, there’s demand among consumers and that it gives stations an extra opportunity to sell commercials.
He’s moving from the station world to OTT because “this is a space that I decided I really want to be in because I believe there’s a great future there.” he said.
VUit wants participating stations to produce one or two live, original, straight-to-OTT events per month. The OTT programming creates a destination for hyperlocal programming that gives a station’s views something to watch before the switch to Netflix or some streaming service.
After decades in the business, Dunaway already knows many fellow station execs. “I’m going to use some of those relationships and build others as we go on, to show them how they can monetize this great product,” he said.
Perry noted that VUit is also a good product for advertisers. “Because here’s a local broadcaster involved, our advertisers can feel comfortable that it’s a brand-safe environment,” he said.
Perry declined to say how many people are watching VUit. But said the service’s biggest stations are getting more than 20,000 viewers a day. When local programming is streamed live, 72% of the viewing comes from in-market. When it’s watched on demand, about 50% is in-market, Perry said.
VUit is now available on all major streaming platforms and devices, including mobile and desktop web, iOS and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and AppleTV.
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