WGN America's NewsNation Takes A Segment Sponsorship Track

By WGN America InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: WGN America's NewsNation Takes A Segment Sponsorship Track

As NewsNation builds its editorial infrastructure in time for its September 1 launch on WGN America, officials from the Nexstar-owned basic cable channel are in "opportunity-touting" mode, inviting advertisers to be involved in NewsNation's nightly content from the start. A major opportunity being circulated by WGN America's sales representatives to advertisers is segment sponsorships. These will cover NewsNation features running on a nightly, weekly or weekend basis. Individual clients can buy commercials (with on-air billboard identifications) alongside the segments, according to Dave Rotem (pictured at top), WGN America's executive vice president of sales and marketing.

From launch, NewsNation will offer a three-hour newscast live in primetime every night from 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern time. More than 5,500 reporters across the country, situated among Nexstar's 196 owned or operated broadcast stations, will contribute to the block, along with a staff of 150-plus anchorpeople, journalists, and news producers out of Chicago. The block will replay from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern time, with live updates for breaking news when necessary.

Early reaction to segment offers—as well as overall NewsNation ad support—is strong across a variety of product or service categories, reports Rotem. "Advertisers know live programming is stronger than running in off-network sitcoms or hour-long dramas. Viewers watching news are more engaged and they'll gravitate to NewsNation because we'll deliver the news right down the middle from the heartland of America. The fact that we're taking an unbiased position appears to be a great opportunity to reach a very desired audience. There's a very large underserved audience that just wants the facts. They don't want bias." Rotem explains.

Among the NewsNation segments created for national client association:

  • Medical News Of The Day (Monday-Friday/at least one per night) … devoted to the latest health-related developments, medical breakthroughs, new treatments and remedies, and local human-interest stories from around the U.S.
  • Tech Center (Monday-Friday/at least one per night) … presenting technology headlines, new product profiles, reports on how technology impacts the American family, and investigations into consumer tech scam products or practices
  • Center Of Attention (Monday-Friday/at least one per night) … Mix of lighter side news, heartwarming stories and reports on people making a difference in their communities.
  • Movies For America (Weekends/at least one per weekend) ... Going inside the making of top new films, previews, and reviews of new flicks at local theaters

If the last feature's name appears familiar, that's not by accident. Kevin Mangini, WGN America's vice president of integrated marketing, calls Movies For America a natural transition of the network's long-running primetime movie presentation with hosts (and subject of an earlier MediaVillagecolumn). "As time goes by, if there's greater demand, the frequency of this segment could increase," he suggests. One segment sponsorship available both every night and every hour on NewsNation will be weather, covering forecasts around the country, severe storm alerts and lifestyle tips, incorporating Nexstar's roster of 400-plus meteorologists. "We'll be in position to deliver live updates and accurate information. Advertisers consistently show strong interest as weather sponsors. That will be a big part of what we do," Mangini foresees.

Other segments proposed for nightly, weekly or weekend ad commitments include financial/business news, automotive, a jobs report and culture.

The launch of the NewsNation Now website, dedicated mobile app and social media channels will happen concurrently with the nightly TV newscasts. These digital properties will operate 24/7 to deliver breaking news. To stoke initial demand, WGN America plans to offer a limited number of exclusive digital sponsorships that will deliver a handful of clients a high percentage share of voice. Dave Rotem adds, "We have heard from our advertising partners that they desire ad placements in a less cluttered environment where their messages are more prominent. The launch of NewsNation Now is a great opportunity to offer that."

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