New data from free ad-supported national streaming service VUit reveal election coverage, weather and climate-related stories were the biggest drivers of out-of-market viewers to local streaming newscasts this year.
The VUit platform, which seeks to become the “Netflix of live, local and free” TV, carries more than 250 local station newscasts, representing 78% of the nation’s DMAs. It has witnessed viewers continuing to tune in. This year, viewers have spent more time watch than in 2021 as they look for perspective on stories outside of their current hometown, VUit said.
Coverage of Hurricane Ian that struck Florida in September is an example of the strong interest in weather and climate events seen this year. During the second half of the year, WSVN-TV in Miami and WSNN-TV in Sarasota, Fla., ranked in the top 10 stations streamed on the platform. WSVN-TV launched on the platform in April and has seen a 4,736% increase in viewership since then, it said.
Between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15, interest among out-of-market viewers in politics spiked for markets covering the biggest swing states or featuring the highest profile races, it said.
For example, political coverage on stations in Philadelphia, one of the markets where Dr. Oz and John Fetterman were competing for a Senate seat, ranked No. 1 on the platform. Other markets in the national spotlight, including Atlanta, Phoenix, Tallahassee, Fla., and Tampa, Fla., ranked in the top 10 during the election season, it said.
Ad dollars on the platform followed the interest in local political coverage in the three months leading up to the election, registering an increase of 51%, VUit said. (Ad dollars are split between the platform and local stations.)
“While 2023 will be an off-election year, we think political news will still be important to viewers in local elections. Hyperlocal events are a huge growth opportunity, as local stations can provide additional content to their viewers than what is available on their airwaves,” said VUit CEO Jack Perry.
“We see large increases in viewership where big news is unfolding, and the long-tail of viewership after these events provides unique opportunities for the stations on our platform to engage these viewers. With continued churn in the SVOD space, VUit provides local broadcasters and content creators with brand-safe opportunities for viewers that they cannot get elsewhere.”
KTSF-TV in San Francisco for the second year continued to occupy the top spot among VUit-streamed stations. The station, offers programming in various Asian languages, and attracts viewers from around the country, it said.
The top 10 most watched local news stations on VUit include:
- KTSF-TV, San Francisco
- WFMZ-TV, Allentown, Pa.
- WWTV, Cadillac, Mich.
- WSAZ-TV, Huntington, W.V.
- WKYT, Lexington, Ky.
- WBRC, Birmingham, Ala.
- KTUU, Anchorage, Alaska
- WSNN-TV, Sarasota, Fla.
- KTVK-TV. Phoenix
- WVUE-DT, New Orleans
More information is available on the company’s website (opens in new tab).
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Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.
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