Sinclair’s free streaming network, STIRR, is a place for cord cutters and mobile users to watch live local news provided by the 82 Sinclair TV stations across the country. But with hundreds of other TV programs and thousands of on demand options, marketing STIRR can be a challenge.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s free streaming network, STIRR, available to download on a Smart TV and other digital platforms, is a place for cord-cutters and mobile users to watch live local news provided by the 82 Sinclair TV stations across the country.
“At the core of it is local, centered first and foremost around local news,” says Adam Ware, Sinclair’s VP of national networks and platforms. “Local TV stations are at the front of it and then it’s complemented by other over the air TV channels.”
Ware says STIRR looks and acts like a TV station, featuring the same programming that the station has.
But STIRR has so much more to offer.
“Within STIRR there are just over 100 linear TV channels and then there are about 8,000 hours of on-demand programming, and it’s all free,” Ware says.
Launched just prior to the COVID pandemic, the network saw huge sampling as viewers were home and going stir crazy.
Part linear TV and part on-demand viewing, STIRR saw its network downloads climb to 7 million, according to a June 2021 TVNewsCheck article.
For the uninitiated, like yours truly, understanding what STIRR offers and navigating through all the options available can be confusing, which presents a challenge when it comes to marketing STIRR.
The most critical part of creating awareness about STIRR starts with the local Sinclair TV stations.
“They run promos promoting us, which give a certain level of awareness,” Ware says. But running promos is not enough, he adds.
The key “is to be able to have the news anchors, the sports or the weather anchors talk about why they should go to download STIRR,” Ware says. “That was a huge part of the promotion. You are basically fishing where the fish are in that case. It is that kind of consistent integration that connects, particularly when it’s someone you trust, the brand or a particular personality, an anchor, whoever is telling you about it. The evidence is clear that that moves.”
Another example of fishing where the fish are is advertising in the app stores, Ware says. But actually figuring out when to increase your spending there is counter to traditional TV advertising.
“In the TV business, no one spends money on marketing right after Christmas,” Ware says.
But in the streaming business, that’s the ideal time to be in the stores.
“That is when everybody got a new Roku or they got a new TV,” Ware says.
How is Ware measuring the success of STIRR’s marketing?
“One is how many people watch, what are they watching and are they leaving quickly,” Ware says, noting total viewing and session time are going up.
“We are seeing session time somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 to 50 minutes on a connected TV device and about 25 to 30 minutes on a phone,” Ware says.
Overall, Ware sees a huge upside for STIRR. “This is a very fertile space to be in, the viewers are there, and the advertisers are there,” he says.
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