Viewers are able to tap into a curated 24/7 channel featuring COVID-19 segments from local stations across the country.
Syncbak, a platform for live local OTT, today announced it has launched a new channel within its SBTV streaming platform specifically dedicated to covering COVID-19.
This new offering aggregates and curates coronavirus news content from local TV broadcasters in more than 115 markets across the U.S., with content refreshed hourly, 24 hours a day.
Although SBTV generally carries advertising, which has been a great ancillary revenue source for the local broadcasters, the newly launched channel will run advertising-free on SBTV, as both Syncbak and the local stations carried on SBTV believe it is important to bring this content to viewers without interruption.
You can check out the newly debuted channel here. The SBTV app is free to viewers anywhere and is available via web and mobile browsers, the SBTV app on the App Store and Google Play, Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku.
Jack Perry, CEO of Syncbak, said: “Now more than ever people want to know what’s happening on the ground not only in their local communities, but also the local communities of friends and loved ones across the country. Working with the local news broadcasters that are part of SBTV, the new channel will provide citizens with an inside look at what is happening in towns across the U.S., which they won’t get just watching their national news. The channel also lets us spotlight some of the great work of local reporters working hard on the ground.”
Syncbak says the new COVID-19 channel “further enhances how SBTV is both providing audiences with better insight into the impact of COVID-19, and enabling local stations to super serve audiences — even beyond what they see on their linear networks.”
Over the past couple of weeks, SBTV stations have livestreamed several exclusive to SBTV COVID-19 long-form programs that did not fit into their regular TV schedules. One such station, WWTV Cadillac, Mich., has uploaded full-length press conferences from the governor — as well as a special on COVID-19 shot with local health authorities — onto the service to keep audiences more deeply informed.
And viewers are tuning in, it says, with WWTV seeing a 131% week-over-week increase in unique viewers and 149% increase in minutes viewed of their SBTV streamed content.
Kevin Dunaway, VP-GM at Heritage Broadcasting and WWTV, said: “SBTV has enabled us to deliver critical content to our viewers during this unprecedented time. We’ve streamed local press conferences in their entirety and answered viewer questions about COVID-19 in a Q&A format with a local doctor. In each instance, we were not restricted in time due to the flexibility of the SBTV platform and we’ve seen a notable jump in viewership by doing so. Most importantly, we’ve kept our community connected and informed when they’ve needed it most.”
Even though local broadcasters will not receive revenue from the specific COVID-19 channel, Syncbak believes spotlighting their content in this way will likely drive audiences to the streams of the stations of most interest to them — through which broadcasters will share in the advertising revenue.
During the current crisis, SBTV says it has seen its viewership grow, and in doing so “has enhanced an ecosystem for local TV stations to further drive audience and revenue in the streaming era. In addition to being able to stream their linear TV content through the app, broadcasters are increasingly using the platform to stream SBTV exclusive events and specials and financially benefit from the advertising through Syncbak’s adSync technology.”
Recently, Gray Television’s KTUU Anchorage, Alaske, streamed key segments of the iconic Iditarod race, which it delivered to a global audience. The event was so popular that the Alaskan station saw a 744% increase in out-of-market views on SBTV.
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