The Fox Los Angeles O&O needed a partner to reach viewers in one of the city’s fastest growing metro regions and settled on the Ontario International Airport, which handles 6 million travelers annually. A true multiyear partnership was formed that doesn’t involve paid media, but serves both parties.
The idea came during a brainstorming session at KTTV, the Fox O&O in Los Angeles.
“We were really trying to focus in on a growth area in our market,” says Erica Hill, former VP of news at KTTV. (Hill left the station July 1.)
The growth area the station had in mind were the counties collectively known as the Inland Empire, one of the top growing metro areas in the country, with a population of about 4 million people, Hill says. According to Wikipedia, the combined land area of the counties of the Inland Empire is larger than 10 states.
Hill sees it as an area of growth for local news viewers, and KTTV was focused on how to relentlessly serve that audience.
“But just putting stories on our air that are focused around the Inland Empire isn’t enough,” Hill says, they needed a partner.
The brainstorming session was set up with the Ontario International Airport, where more than 6 million travelers go in and out each year, offering a captive audience with time on their hands.
“It turns out they were so excited to talk to us,” Hill says.
In the beginning of May, a multiyear partnership was formed, not involving paid media, but a mutual arrangement that gives KTTV visibility for its news brand at the airport while the airport gets exposure to KTTV viewers for how it serves the Inland Empire.
KTTV saw this partnership as an opportunity for Good Day L.A., KTTV’s six-hour morning news.
According to the station, Good Day L.A. branding is going up all around the airport: digital signs, static signs, wraps on monitors, even audio greetings from the Good Day L.A. team when people arrive at baggage claim.
“They put our news programs on the monitors throughout the airport,” Hill says. “It just felt really special to be able to serve that particular part of our viewing audience at a time when they are wanting information and waiting for their planes to depart.”
What the Ontario International Airport wanted was exposure “as an alternative airport for people who don’t want to drive the hour-plus to LAX,” Hill says.
KTTV installed a camera at the top of the airport, overlooking the mountains and the tarmac, to capture pictures of landings, takeoffs and the beautiful scenery, which Good Day L.A. showcases on its weather hits.
KTTV also provides a travel forecast, and the Good Day L.A. team will be there throughout the year to offer important travel news for the many people flying in and out.
But all that’s just the beginning of the partnership.
“We are really trying to think about ways to make connections with an audience that isn’t just a marketing ploy,” Hill says. “What we are trying to build here is connection and visibility in that very important market for our audience and for our brand.”
Hill says on a visit to the airport, she got an idea when she walked past the pet relief area.
“Let’s put some branding around that because we do “Furry Fridays” every Friday where we feature people’s pets,” Hill says. The marketing department put up some signage that allowed pet owners to take a picture of their pet and send it to the station using a QR code.
“I was shocked at how many photos we got, which was pretty cute,” Hill says.
She says the innovative arrangement was designed so that the goals of the airport and KTTV pretty much matched. “It feels more like what a true partnership is, and that was the spirit of it.”
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