Commentary

Betting Big On OTT

Freddie Godfrey, senior director of strategic partnerships at Newsy/Scripps, is focused on content. "You can't put any old dross up there," he told those gathered Saturday at the Publishers Insider Summit in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

In 2016, Newsy pivoted from desktop syndication to OTT, which has proven to be very successful, but "also really hard," he said, "and a dangerous place to go" because there is no pay to play. "You have to have the right content and vision and understand the market or you're screwed."

The brand has seen a 383% growth in audience since then by offering current headlines plus linear-like curated feeds and on-demand access. Two years ago, it launched a cable network, and now uses that cable presence as well as it's OTT apps to sell to each other.

Godfrey started Newsy Brief 18 months ago to help elevate brands and get in front of people who don't want to be sold to. It offers "evergreen nuggets like penguins running for fun. We stay away from politics or anything that is potentially divisive. That is the biggest reason for our success."

Newsy enjoys an average 37-minute engagement rate. "We made a big bet by shutting down the only revenue stream we had and focusing on another one."

He advised other publishers to "talk to people, ask tricky questions, test the water. There is an audience there."

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