As broadcasters race to attract a new generation of viewers, the tech strategies being implemented by Jenkins will be worth watching over the next year.
Jenkins’ efforts to use technology to improve Nexstar’s business builds on a long career of innovation, including work on digital broadcast technologies for a variety of broadcast equipment vendors and senior tech jobs at Ion Media, LIN Media and Media General. He assumed his current position in 2017 after Nexstar acquired Media General.
As the nation’s largest broadcast group, with 197 TV stations and significant digital and cable network operations, Nexstar faces a rapidly changing media landscape. “Tech is bringing a lot of disruption to so many areas,” Jenkins said. “But I feel really privileged to be in a position to think about applying technologies to our businesses in ways that will help us navigate all these disruptions. Hopefully, we can look at these disruptions as opportunities, not problems.”
One major opportunity is the NextGen TV standard ATSC 3.0. Implementing ATSC 3.0 will help stations do a much better job of improving their traditional business of delivering content to consumers by allowing them to broadcast higher-resolution video, improved audio, new interactive services and advanced advertising systems, Jenkins explained.
Beyond that, Jenkins noted that ATSC 3.0 will enable a much more robust broadcast platform, opening up opportunities to offer spectrum and services to other companies in such areas as automotive, the internet of things or content distribution.
“We are still in early launch mode, but we will have stations in 12 or maybe 13 markets lit up with ATSC 3.0 by the end of this year and another 20 or so next year,” providing ATSC 3.0 signals on Nexstar stations to about 30% of the country by the start of 2022, he said.
Jenkins has also been playing a major role in the Television Interface Practices (TIP) initiative to develop standards that will help stations better compete against digital media by automating and streamlining the buying process. “TIP will benefit not just Nexstar, but the whole industry by making it easier for buyers” to buy local TV ads, he said.
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