Positive Signs For Local Media In 2021? Now That’s Breaking News
A new pathway for local broadcasters (Not-so-gently down the stream)
Jack Perry is the CEO of VUit, a streaming platform for nearly 200 local TV stations across the country. Perry told me that by the end of 2021 VUit expects to have over 300 stations on the platform covering every local market in the U.S. VUit is armed with investments from ViacomCBS and Gray Television GTN +1.6%, but its target audience is not the 80 million plus cable and satellite households, but primarily cord-cutters and the relatively more youthful cord-nevers.
VUit stations aren’t simply using the platform to stream and time-shift their existing local news programs. Perry points to a good deal of experimentation with content and format. This includes local concerts, live high school sports and local government events that could never work on a traditional TV broadcast. Broadcasters such as Gray are creating separately branded programming such as PowerNation (automotive “how to”) and Politics Uncut. And Perry pointed to the huge success just this month with a 24X7 Iditarod Channel that took a locally-based Alaska event and expanded it to syndicated national and even global audience. Unlike some of the independent local sites, this is almost entirely an advertiser revenue-based business. But in line with going where your audiences are, it beats trying to wring the last dollars out of just your local news broadcast.
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