Sinclair’s recently launched ad-supported multichannel service STIRR could see benefits from the company’s recently announced $9.6 billion deal for Disney’s regional sports networks (RSNs.)
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said during today’s earnings call that non-game content from the 21 RSNs could be used to fill out programming on STIRR. He also said that live games could eventually make it to STIRR on an authenticated basis.
STIRR, which launched in January, features channels including Cheddar, NASA TV and Stadium along with curated channels like STIRR Movies, STIRR Sports, STIRR Life and STIRR CITY, a channel featuring live local news, local and regional sports, entertainment and city-focused lifestyle programming provided by local Sinclair TV stations.
Sinclair said that STIRR is doing well in terms of awareness and downloads, which are ahead of the company’s initial expectations for the service. Ripley said that STIRR is still “very much in startup mode,” and that the service will remain free and ad-supported for now as Sinclair seeks to build the user base. But, Ripley said the platform technology does provide the ability to add paywalls, premium content for up-selling and subscription-based programming.
“That’s something that won’t likely be turned on in the near-term…but it’s absolutely on the product plan,” Ripley said.
During a press conference to discuss the Disney RSN transaction earlier this week, Ripley said he sees a chance to grow his company’s online video business and break into legal sports betting.
“We see tremendous opportunity for the RSNs in the continued adoption of digital streaming as well as the nascent legalized sports betting space,” Ripley said during the press conference, according to Deadline.
His comments today elaborate on how the RSN programming might fit into Sinclair’s existing streaming video strategy.