How To Develop A Streaming News Strategy
There are four keys to taking advantage of streaming opportunities, according to Katie Larson, VP of brand strategy and innovation at Magid.
- Plant a flag on streaming platforms, and quickly.
- Think beyond distribution to build a connection with the target audience.
- Expand your content portfolio.
- Plan for multiple revenue streams.
Larson, whose keynote opened TVNewsCheck’s OTT News Summit on June 11, drew on Magid’s latest OTT market data for local and national news organizations venturing into the space, including what she described as “our broad streaming landscape study [that] just came out in the field two weeks ago.”
Among her key observations were:
Adoption by consumers of OTT is continuing to grow, but friction is still high. OTT is still seen as one of the least accessable platforms for local news, despite a growth in usage year-over-year. However, Larson said, “the reality is that live linear TV is still holding up. It is propped up a bit by older demos. It is definitely propped up by sports and news content. Forty-five plus, they still prefer live linear television. For 44 and under their favorite platform is the streaming platform.”
Cord cutting continues to accelerate. “This trend is hitting a new high this year,” Larson said. “We have tracked this for almost a decade and a lot of it is fueled by an ad spot or SVOD and skinny bundle offerings. The value that these things hold for consumers as relative to their price point is high. The value that live linear television solutions hold for consumers relative to their price points is a lot lower. So it is hard for TV to compete there and that is certainly going to fuel how cord cutting continues. So we think it is important to move quickly, to plant a flag on streaming platforms because cord cutting will continue to accelerate. It is important to think beyond distribution.”
There are so many options, consumers need help managing them. Said Larson: “We have talked with [consumers] about looking at ways to manage this and 70% are at least somewhat interested in an idea or a concept that would bring all of these things into a single interface for them and make it really easy to remember what shows they have, to keep track of their services, to be able to find things.”
News brands need to move beyond function and establish emotional connections. Millennials, she said, “are looking for something that really connects them to the brand that compels them to seek it out, and many of the existing brands that are out there are still delivering on boomer ideals. So we see this as an opportunity to kind of evolve and focus on different things.”
Content opportunities may be broader than where you’re focused. Millennials, she continued, are more interested “in categories that maybe wouldn’t traditionally fit into how we would define news or how we define local. We think these are things that can be added into our strategies that can help really kind of round out our offering and help deliver on the emotional connection that they are looking for.”
Among the new solutions that must be considered, she said are:
Realizing that the digital dimes will never stack up. “We know digital dimes will never stack up. We have spent a lot of years and a lot of time in this industry and it is hard to see that revenue really sustain itself or grow in the way that television revenue has, linear television revenue has. We see OTT as a strong product offering and it is a unique market strategy that can be leveraged. It aligns much more closely with TV and presents a great opportunity there.
Many revenue streams should be considered. “For a long time,” Larson said, “I think we have invested in digital platforms that haven’t given us a strong return and our revenue has largely been propped up by retransmission agreements. But streaming has the potential, I think, to start to grow into that.
“And while consumers are open to more and that should be a part of your consideration set, the reality is that advertising-based services are the next major growth area. Consumers are OK with ads as long as they fit the platform or they fit the content that they are watching — and that can be another way that you have multiple revenue streams within your offering.”
Advertisers want new solutions. They are really “interested in different types of solutions like interactive ads on TV, ads on a pause screen, branded content, they want to work with you in different ways, subscriptions and sponsorships are a great opportunity,” Larson said. “So there are a number of different revenue streams that you can think about that your advertisers are asking for and can help, I think, accelerate some of the monetization around these efforts.”
She concluded, saying: “What we also see is that there is a lot of gaps in the market today. Our current efforts do miss the mark. Less than 20% of advertisers think broadcasters are innovative. Less than half think they are properly focused on OTT and streaming and they want to be there because that is how they consume when they are at home. That is how they see their families consuming. And so we can better focus the products that we are putting in front of them to be more focused on their business, to be more innovative and to be more exciting as something they want to wrap their arms around.”