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E.W. Scripps Company Wants to Bring Their OTA Content Over The Top

Jeff Kotuby

Much like iconic retro fashion looks seem to always come back around, so has over-the-air broadcasting. While viewers no longer only have a handful of content options to choose from, over-the-air networks still offer a way for cord-cutters to watch familiar channels while requiring limited equipment to do so.

The E.W. Scripps Company, which recently acquired over-the-air broadcast network Ion Media, thinks there’s a massive opportunity with OTA broadcasting and wants to further their business in that space going forward — and also sees a future in streaming.

At their investor day presentation on Wednesday, Scripps leadership outlined their plans for the company’s future. Scripps CEO Adam Symson has a positive outlook going forward. “We already have a commanding share of the [OTA] audience,” Symson said. “And we don’t expect to do anything other than expand upon that.”

Scripps is backing up those claims by launching two new OTA stations — Doozy and Defy TV. These two stations, aimed at 25-54 year-old women and men, respectively, join Ion, Bounce, Laff, Grit, Court TV, Court TV Mystery, and Newsy in the Scripps Network family. Over-the-air viewers within the channel’s distribution area can watch these stations starting in July.

While OTA is a large focus going forward, Scripps still wants to get into the streaming game. Scripps has dabbled in the AVOD realm with Newsy and Court TV, and would go similar routes in the future. ” I would expect that we will continue to run plays from that playbook,” Symson said, “moving more of our free network programming into the free ad-supported streaming marketplace.”

Scripps’ local TV stations are also considering a shift to over the top. “We’ve been in a digital space for a long time but OTT is the most meaningful revenue we’ve seen off of our main channel of any of these other platforms,” said Brian Lawlor, president of local media at Scripps.

Scripps could partner with existing AVOD services like Pluto TV or The Roku Channel, or even work with distribution platforms like Apple TV and VIZIO SmartCast to broaden their reach. Either way, expect Scripps’ brands to join the streaming game sooner rather than later.

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