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TEGNA is Jumping into the Next Phase of the Streaming Revolution with OTT+ Apps 

Speaking at a recent MediaPost panel on OTT Streaming and the advertising dollars it generates, TEGNA’s Chris Fehrmann, VP of Digital Products, details how our OTT+ apps on Roku and FireTV are giving our partners the chance to reach new viewers and add increased frequency, providing tremendous value to their media plans. 

Meredith Cunningham Published: June 8, 2022

By Chris Fehrmann, Vice President of Digital Products at TEGNA 

Recently some of the top publishers, ad tech providers, and digital leaders converged in Nashville, Tennessee for the first in-person, MediaPost Publishing Insider Summit held since pre-pandemic years. The event promised to cover trending topics impacting top publishers and media businesses, in an intimate setting, with a small group of approximately 75 attendees. Presenters included executives from a variety of publishers, such as The Arena Group, SheMedia, AccuWeather, Revry, and yours truly, Chris Fehrmann, VP of Digital, TEGNA Inc. 

Now, for this guy, conferences are typically not the first place you will find me, but MediaPost’s diverse agenda, combined with a small setting to enable real connections with other attendees rendered this opportunity hard to pass up.  

The agenda included a range of relevant topics, from how publishers are scaling audiences and attracting younger viewers, to emerging trends such as Web3, NFTs, etc. This was an especially compelling agenda for me as a product leader at TEGNA – a traditional TV broadcaster focusing heavily on content generation and the consumer’s transition to streaming. The speakers and topics did not disappoint! Plus, the relationships cultivated are worth the investment in and of itself.  

My contribution included appearing alongside a panel of other publishers who are not only building streaming audiences but are also thriving. Entitled “You’re All Streamers Now: Competing for Post-TV Dollars,” the panel promised to describe how different video publishers are assessing and competing with one another for the convergence of video advertising dollars across digital and streaming platforms.  

Joined on stage with peers from AccuWeather, Revry, and Trusted Media Brands, we all described the investments we are making into streaming video, building, and distributing OTT/CTV apps, and how we are monetizing them with both traditional and new business models.  

For TEGNA, our streaming strategy and advertising opportunities are valuable, while complex. With 64 local TV stations in 51 markets, the opportunity to create an advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported TV (FAST) environment for our consumers within one application produces challenges. Creating the best user experience alongside opportunities for advertisers, as well as complex technical setups for live TV broadcasting, is no easy feat.  

Launched in mid-2021, TEGNA offers apps to be downloaded across streaming platforms including Roku and FireTV, with additional platforms launching in 2022 and 2023. Cord-cutters and cord-nevers receive vital local news content such as weather and sports, while broadcast TV viewers will receive additional value through extended coverage and more. For advertisers, the opportunity to reach new viewers, as well as increased frequency to existing consumers, provides additional value to their media plans.  

With the launch of our “version 2.0” apps rolling out in Q2 2022, TEGNA is jumping into the next phase of our streaming transformation. This evolution starts with the name, adopting the “plus” moniker that streamers have come accustomed to. You can find TEGNA’s station apps under the name of their call letters, combined with “+” (i.e., WKYC+; KUSA+, etc.) The “+” stands for so much more than the adoption of an industry moniker. It symbolizes the additional coverage that you can expect beyond our traditional broadcasting channels – content that you cannot find anywhere else, breaking the barriers of time limits of our broadcasts.  

Internally, the “+” stands for a mind shift in our content creation moving from creating content for on-air broadcasts to creating content that has no barriers or time limits of traditional formats. TEGNA’s newsrooms and content producers can program the content on their streaming apps 24/7. This alone provides the opportunity to be live anytime, which unto itself, is a game-changer compared to traditional broadcast TV.   

The opportunity for journalists to go deep into a passion topic, provide long-form investigations, and extend coverage are all opportunities to tailor content to local audiences and engage a new group of viewers on streaming platforms. TEGNA’s content teams across the country are actively producing new shows, adopting the flexibility of the new streaming formats, and growing the audience.  

Stations are experiencing immediate success with new show formats, such as WKYC’s sports talk show called “The Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show,” which promises to provide a daily one-stop shop for local sports fans covering the most recent and trending topics across Cleveland’s sports teams. Hosted by Jay Crawford, Adam “The Bull”, G Bush, Mike Polk Jr., Brad Sellers, and Tyvis Powell, the show includes guests such as legendary Brown’s quarterback, Bernie Kosar.  

Other stations are having success with creating extended weather forecasts, shows focused on family subjects such as family road trips, recaps of prior events, extended interviews, explainers around recent events and holidays, and more! All these efforts are resulting in triple-digit-percentage growths in viewing minutes and viewable ad impressions. 

With 82M U.S. homes watching OTT (up 22% YoY) and the share of BBO (broadband-only homes) rising 28% YoY, and on a hockey-stick growth trajectory, local media broadcasters such as TEGNA are in a great position to provide value to our communities of viewers and advertisers.  Plus, a local broadcaster’s audience is a valuable one for advertisers both locally, regionally, and nationally.  

The relationship TEGNA holds with its viewers is stronger than most other news outlets that are consumed by its viewers, as illustrated by an IAB study, 84% of consumers feel that advertising within news increases or maintains brand trust. TEGNA’s massive footprint provides brands with audiences across America, delivering local relevance on a national scale.  

To learn more about how TEGNA’s OTT/CTV streaming platforms and digital audiences may help your brand, visit TEGNA.com/advertise, and be sure to sign up for “The Good Word” to receive regular updates on TEGNA and insights on how to maximize your advertising and marketing.  

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