If you're in the local broadcast or media buying space, you know there's no shortage of opinions around over-the-top (OTT) and the local broadcasters' role in it. In my role at Syncbak, however, I have direct experience seeing their massive amounts of success with live OTT channels every day; they're reaching viewers wherever they are, whenever they are ready to watch. Attracting and retaining local viewers has always been top of mind for broadcasters, but it's now key -- and that's the OTT differentiator.
As TV viewers' habits evolve, such as watching wherever they're going, there is still a need for great local content. For example, while more Americans are consuming news online than ever before, local news is a more trusted source than even network and cable outlets, proving there is still a need for great content coming out of our communities. And the importance of reaching these highly targeted audiences extends beyond the goals of the broadcast station to advertisers as well. Media buyers and local broadcasters have always worked together to find the best ways to reach the right audiences. OTT is the next step on their shared journey.
The industry is starting to see the opportunities in front of us and, as expected, several media companies have introduced unique and innovative platforms to address them. Local media buyers can now review and test each of these platforms to help shape local advertising for years to come. Examples include Syncbak's SBTV, Sinclair's STIRR and CompulseOTT, Tegna's Premion, NewsON and more. These solutions share a goal of providing content for local viewers and helping advertisers reach those viewers. With clearly some pride of product but as an educational opportunity as well, I'm compelled to share some key differentiators that set our OTT platform, SBTV, apart from the rest.
SBTV is Syncbak's direct-to-consumer OTT app that features always-on live streams and original on-demand programming from over 150 television stations from groups like Gray Television, Morgan Murphy, Northwest Broadcasting and more. SBTV is free and currently available on desktop and mobile browsers (sbtv.com), Apple TV, Roku, iOS and Android with support for FireTV, Google Chrome Stick and smart TVs coming out later this year.
In my conversations with media buyers, it's clear that they want to include OTT as a part of their advertising mix. They're eager to learn about SBTV and test the platform. So far, we have had many successful campaigns. Here are some ways SBTV serves viewers, media buyers and broadcasters.
For the Viewer
SBTV is fun! You can find TV stations in your local market and you can check out stations in other markets, which comes in handy if you want a local perspective on a national news story. SBTV brings live, locally produced events to anyone interested anywhere in the U.S. These include the Iditarod, produced by KTUU-TV in Alaska; the Chinese New Year Parade, produced by KTSF-TV in San Francisco; state high school football championship games, produced by WFMZ-TV in Pennsylvania, and more. SBTV live streams rooftop concerts from New York City, comedy nights and other live events. In addition, there is really great content available on-demand and in curated channels that are of interest to foodies, mixed martial arts aficionados, news junkies, business executives, comedy enthusiasts and much more.
SBTV is easy to find, easy to navigate and is constantly evolving to serve the local viewer in any market.
For the Advertiser
SBTV is powered by adSync, a proprietary Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) platform. This means that ads are served in the same commercial breaks as over-the-air television, making the experience just like traditional TV. SBTV has over 100 million ad impressions available each month, and that number is growing. Ads will be served anywhere the local TV station stream is seen. This includes on sbtv.com, local station websites and apps and on the Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (vMVPDs) to which we deliver station streams. SBTV allows advertisers to utilize advanced targeting that goes way beyond demographics and designated market areas (DMA). adSync is integrated with SpotX, so any demand-side platform (DSP) can bid on the inventory. adSync is also integrated with Mediaocean to make it easy for local TV buyers to include OTT on their linear buys. Currently, over 1,500 different advertisers are utilizing SBTV because the content (mostly local TV station news and other live local programs) is brand safe. In fact, it's the same content you already buy with local TV.
For the Broadcaster
SBTV was created by Syncbak, which powers over 12,000,000 hours of live streams per year, serving stations in every major group across the country. SBTV was created with the local broadcaster in mind based on the belief that a TV station should make its content available anywhere and everywhere. SBTV carries programming from any station group and is a powerful complement to binge with other subscription-supported OTT platforms.
Media buyers and consumers alike all benefit when great local content is available everywhere, when local advertisers can reach these important viewers and when broadcasters have a way to monetize their OTT content. The debate should be over. The future is bright for OTT.
Photo credit: Pinho / Unsplash
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