Upward of 200 over-the-air TV stations owned by Gray Television, Meredith Corp., Cowles Media Company, Morgan Murphy Media and Heritage Broacasting Group have signed on as the initial launch partners for a new free ad-supported national streaming service built by a key live local OTT tech company.
And, Gray is putting its dollars into its ultimate success.
VUit (pronounced “view it”) expects to stream more than 3 million hours of live programming — as, in the words of creator Syncbak — “the Netflix of Live, Local and Free.”
What, exactly, will be found on VUit? Syncbak promises “a wide range of local, regional and special interest programming” produced by the TV stations, along with “thousands” of “VUit Originals.”
It puts a greater spotlight on the increased need for owned content from the nation’s broadcast TV companies, as networks such as NBC and CBS push ahead with OTT platforms that could one day make affiliations far less value than in the past.
According to Syncbak, each participating station has committed to produce and stream at least 12 live events a year exclusively for VUit. This content ranges from sports, concerts, and cultural events to news specials, yielding at a minimum nearly 2,500 “VUit Originals” per year. And, in addition to station specific channels, VUit will feature themed curated channels, such as a political channel, “Politics Uncut.”
At the same time, Syncbak will invest in original programming including a daily business show, Business First A.M.; food culture show food.curated; and music video channel Fly Over Music — spotlighting music acts who are based in what are colloquially referred to as “fly over” states.
VUit is available on all major streaming platforms and devices, including iOS and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and AppleTV.
From a promotional standpoint, stations are “incentivized” to market VUit on-air during TV newscasts “as they reap significant advertising benefits from driving the streaming platform’s viewership,” Synback believes.
The new streaming service is headed by Syncbak founder and CEO Jack Perry. His Syncbak technology currently powers the OTT delivery of live local broadcast signals for Hulu, CBS All Access and Fubo.
‘SIGNIFICANT’ INVESTMENT FROM GRAY
With the launch of VUit, Syncbak has confirmed that Gray Television has made “a significant additional investment” in the company. This, Syncbak says, will assist its plans for the widespread distribution and adoption of VUit.