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Local News Digital Video Viewership Thrives in 2020

An Online Video Platform dedicated to Local Publishers will help them capitalize on this trend in 2021.

Key Points:

  • COVID related content helped local news video viewership grow faster than ever
  • Because of this shift in priorities, industry insiders expect advertisers to pour their spend into geo targeted campaigns
  • Publishers will need an Online Video Platform built to not only handle this growth in content consumption but also be able to monetize it effectively for them

Recently, SendtoNews hosted a Digital Video Leadership Series focused on solutions to help publishers thrive and what they could expect in 2021 when it came to their digital video strategy.  Over the course of the series, the idea that local news was an important part of the daily lives of online users became increasingly clear. 

Below are year over year results for video viewership tagged as “Local News” from Comscore in the United States.  Notice the incredible jump in March corresponding with the start of COVID restrictions.

Year over year, the category showed 142% growth.  As the people adjusted to the impacts of COVID on work and life, priorities in digital media consumption shifted, particularly around local news.  Tony Katsur, SVP of Nexstar Digital Video strategy confirmed this trend stating “when covid first hit in March, April, May, we actually saw about a four almost five X increase in total content consumption across all of our digital assets” further stating that COVID is “one of the greatest local news stories in human history.”     

Local news affected people’s day to day lives more and more.  Mask ordinances, business openings, health guidelines, available activities, and sports content are all different based on where viewers live, and national storylines couldn’t deliver the granularity of information that viewers required. Chief Content Officer of Tribune Publishing Colin McMahon offers some insight into that trend stating “that’s what the audience really comes for…  how to stay safe, how to stay healthy, what to do if you are going to the store or going to work, whatever the case may be, if you can give that local perspective, that’s what they (your users) respond to.”

And where viewership goes, advertisers are sure to follow. On a panel hosted by SendtoNews CEO Matthew Watson discussing industry insights for 2021, Kelly McMahon, SVP of Global Operations at Spotx discussed advertisers becoming nimble to this trend. 

“We really saw more of this localized approach to media planning and buying, because restrictions vary by state, by city by county,” said McMahon.  “They have to make sure their messages are accurate and they aren’t tone deaf to what’s happening to very specific markets.  I actually think that will continue for the foreseeable future.” 

However, this increased traffic and ad spend can be a double edged sword.  Local publishers are going to be expected to deliver a wide breadth of contextual relevant video content to satisfy both their user base and potential advertising spend.  This demand can often come with an increased need for publisher time and resources both of which can be in short supply.  This is why partnering with an Online Video Platform that provides a robust mix of video content, technology and monetization is more important than ever before.  

At SendtoNews we recognize this need and address it with an Online Video Platform that delivers up to 5000 daily videos to publishers from the world of Sports, News, Business, Tech, Lifestyle, Entertainment and more.  The video content is also of the highest quality, coming direct from 200 partners like MLB, Bloomberg, Associated Press, NBA, Conde Nast, Rolling Stone and Variety.  Publishers get the breadth of library to cover their entire site, while providing quality, complementary video content on every page. 

This library not only helps publishers provide premium contextual relevant video to their users with no added strain on resources, but has been proven to have a massive impact on brand metrics for advertisers.  A recent IAS study showed that 81% of consumers consider it important that ads are placed next to high quality content like that in the STN library.  More than that, 45% of users would feel less favorable to brands that appear next to content they deem low quality.  SendtoNews illustrates the power of its library to advertisers along with the desired local footprint of our platform to ensure a maximum CPM is delivered to publishers’ sites.

It is great to see the resurgence of local news and the value it delivers to its community.  SendtoNews was founded on and still operates under the principle of helping local publishers thrive so they could better serve their readership.  With 2021 poised to see an incredible year of digital video viewership and revenue, especially at the local level, we are excited now more than ever to deliver the best in technology, content and monetization solutions to our partners.