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50%+ Of STIRR Viewership is Their Streaming ‘Local Affiliate’ STIRR City, May Partner to Reach Every Market

Jason Gurwin

In January, Sinclair launched a free, ad-supported streaming service called STIRR that includes access to free ad-supported live news, sports, entertainment, and digital first channels. One of the big differentiators from other free streaming services like Pluto TV, is the ability to leverage their local affiliate footprint to bring localized content to streamers.

At the Promax Conference, an entertainment marketing conference, Adam Ware, GM of STIRR, said that local focus has paid off. “At the front door of this, is a direct to OTT local TV station called STIRR CITY which is the core of what STIRR is. Over half of the viewership we get on the service is on the STIRR City channel.”

While STIRR City is currently available in 79 local markets, the company has a goal to “expand to every DMA, in every city.” Ware indicated that the company would be open to partner with newspaper groups and even other station groups in order to reach new markets.

He feels streaming is just another “input” on your TV for Sinclair to have a presence. “The way we approach it because we’re dominant on the cable box. We’re pretty dominant on the antenna. And then it’s about trying to figure out in these other environment and it goes back to local.”

When asked whether they would create original content, Ware said that they already do. “I think local news is pretty original. And we produce 4,200 hours a week on a regular basis.” While Ware wouldn’t comment on Sinclair’s acquisition of Fox RSNs, last month Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said “we see first from the RSN programming, non-game programming being used on STIRR.” But, he does see a path for live games as well, “we may very well populate games as well, but that’s to be determined.”

In discussing plans to move beyond local, the service hopes to grow from 25+ national channels to 100 by the end of 2019. Ware also thinks there’s a model to sell à la carte subscriptions in STIRR — whether it be a third-party service like Philo or their own streaming service Tennis Channel Plus.

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