Cox Media Group has signed an agreement to stream its local content on the VUit national streaming service.
VUit was started by tech company Syncbak with backing from Gray Television. With Cox Media Group’s stations, VUit now has local coverage and programming in 150 of the nation’s 210 markets.
With more viewers streaming, stations are looking for ways to distribute their content over-the-top to reach both local cord-cutters and audiences outside the reach of their broadcast signals. They’re also looking to cash in on the growing stream of ad dollars going to digital media and connected TV.
CMG, acquired in 2019 by Apollo Global Management, has been considering its digital options. It had its individual stations streaming to local audiences. Streaming accounted for about 10% of those stations’ viewers.
Sinclair Broadcast Group has built a centralized streaming platform--Stirr--around its local stations. Nexstar Media Group is using its stations to feed local stories into its cable news channel NewsNation.
CMG has opted to cast its lot with VUit. Its stations newscasts also stream on NewsOn, another platform controlled by Sinclair.
“We continue to see enormous opportunity for local news on digital platforms to not only drive revenue but to extend the quality of our reporting reach of hyperlocal news across the country,” said Marian Pittman, executive VP of content, product & innovation for CMG. “We’re thrilled to partner with VUit to make this happen.”
CMG gives VUit stations in major markets including Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, Orlando and Charlotte.
VUit said it will work with the CMG stations partners to optimize their streaming activity. In additional to putting their current local news and culture programming on the platform, they will also be able to create original content that could appeal to viewers beyond their local market.
In addition to CMG and Gray, stations owned by Cowles Media Co., Heritage Broadcasting Group and Morgan Murphy Media have signed on with VUit.
“Hyperlocal news is no longer just for those living in the community. There's an appetite for these stories well beyond the local broadcasters’ markets. Cox is the perfect partner to amplify VUit’s content offerings, and we’re excited to be able to bring the high-quality content of their local stations to viewers nationwide,” said Jack Perry, CEO of Syncbak.
Via VUit coverage of local events can reach a national audience. Coverage of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race from KTUU-TV, Gray’s station in Anchorage, Alaska, attracted viewers from 178 markets, a stream of the Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial from Heritage Broadcasting’s WWTV in Traverse City, Michigan, attracted viewers in 132 markets. Viewers in 65 markets watched as Gray’s KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapid, Iowa, streamed LinnMar High School’s graduation ceremony.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting + Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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