E.W. Scripps to launching marketing campaign encouraging viewers to tune in to over the air signals

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

E.W. Scripps Company will be launching a marketing campaign aimed at getting viewers to tune in to its free over the air singles to combat cord cutting.

The company, which owns over 60 TV stations in over 40 markets, plus Katz Broadcasting, which operates eight networks that are frequently offered as free digital over the air subchannels in many markets.

These include Bounce, Brown Sugar, Court TV, Ion Mystery, Grit, Laff, TrueReal, Defy and Newsy.

While its primary stations and select subchannels are typically available through local cable and satellite providers, with more and more consumers dropping these services, Scripps has a significant interest in promoting OTA viewing.

Outside of retransmission setups, Scripps stations and their associated subchannels are broadcast over the public airwaves, making them free to anyone with an antenna capable of picking them up. While the idea of viewing with an antenna became obsolete in many areas of the country with the advent of cable and satellite, the concept is gaining popular again as people look for more entertainment sources for free.

Antennas have also become completely integrated with many TVs, including smart TVs designed to connect to streaming and OTT services, meaning many viewers don’t need to buy a separate “bunny ears” style traditional antenna or attached a unit to their home.

Scripps is hoping its marketing can help emphasize the amount of content it has available for free and Americans become more wary of paying monthly fees for streaming services (let alone cable or satellite) as well as educate the public on how to access the signals.

There’s a potential for big returns for Scripps — it doesn’t have to share ad time with cable and satellite providers on OTA signals, meaning it can pocket more ad revenue, which it notes could be key heading in the 2022 midterm election year as candidates look to book more ad at the local or regional level.

Local news produced by its stations could especially benefit from this — it already tends to be some of the most profitable form of TV — and is still considered one genre that’s relatively safe from DVRing.

The Katz networks are also highly targeted in terms of both the audience they attract and type of programming, meaning they can be appealing to advertisers looking to reach certain demographics.

Scripps previously owned cable giants HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network and The Cooking Channel, but sold those to Discovery in 2018.

It recently revamped its Newsy offering to no longer air on cable and pay OTT providers, instead moving its signal to over the air subchannels and direct streaming.