Stirr, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s over-the-top service, is exclusively streaming the late Alex Trebek’s last episodes as host of Jeopardy!
The episodes are available on demand in markets where Sinclair stations air the syndicated show. And they will only be available until five more episodes air. At that point, the new episodes will be available on demand.
Adam Ware, VP and general manager of national networks and platforms at Sinclair, said it took the broadcaster about three years to get streaming rights to all of the syndicated programming it airs. Its deals allow it to offer the last five episodes of shows on demand. It began incorporating those shows into Stirr during the fourth quarter.
Though Stirr is available nationally, it is designed to feel like a local service, emphasizing the news and other programming from the Sinclair station in each viewer’s market, Ware said.
Sinclair airs Jeopardy! in about 25 markets, including Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.
In those markets, Trebek and Jeopardy! are featured in images at the top of the Stirr home page. Jeopardy is also featured in a “your local shows and more” menu.
At a time when networks are streaming more of their own primetime programming, Ware said it was important for stations to be able to stream content other than their own newscasts. Streaming syndicated shows gives a station a boost on line.
“The stations are already promoting that if you miss an episode of Jeopardy!, go to Stirr. It’s only available on Stirr,” he said. “This reinforces that this is local and it’s coming from a trusted local television brand. The local part is the secret sauce for us.”
Because of the pandemic, Stirr is about two years ahead of plan in terms of audience growth Ware said.
Ware said that during 2020, Stirr has doubled its audience. Stirr downloads jumped in June and July, when many people were sheltering at home to slow the spread of the pandemic. About 30% of those added downloads were deleted, but that still left Stirr with a healthy increase.
Advertising demand has been good. “There’s so much money looking to get into ad-supported OTT,” he said. “You can’t buy Netflix. You can buy Hulu, but Roku and Sinclair are driving that marketplace.”
Stirr viewers are mainly watching programming available on air, including local news and content from digital broadcast channels, he said.
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