STIRR, Sinclair’s free, ad-supported streaming service anchored its local broadcast television stations, has hit one million downloads since launching earlier this year.
The company said that 76% of downloads and 85% of viewership is through connected TV devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. Viewers on average watch STIRR twice a week (up 50% since launch) for one hour at a time (up 200% since launch).
Adam Ware, general manager at STIRR, said the service has hit all the key entry points his company wanted to hit, just a lot faster than Sinclair originally thought. He said that in mid-February the downloads started to pick up a lot faster, something he attributed to TV stations promoting it on the air.
“We always thought that would be a secret sauce moment,” said Ware. “It proved the power of television advertising.”
STIRR launched in January with a lineup of channels including BUZZR, Charge, Cheddar, Comet, CONtv, Dove Channel, DUST, FailArmy, Futurism, Gravitas, Mobcrush, MovieMix, NASA TV, Outdoor America, The Pet Collective, SOAR, Stadium, TBD, The Tennis Channel and World Poker Tour.
STIRR has also developed original channels, including STIRR Movies, STIRR Sports, STIRR Life and STIRR CITY, a channel that will curate live local news, local and regional sports, entertainment and city-focused lifestyle programming provided by the local Sinclair TV station in that city.
Ware said that STIRR City has been the big differentiator for the service. He said it’s allowed Sinclair to see what viewers are watching and at what specific times. He said the tune-in patterns, largely driven by local newscasts, function a lot like dayparting, which doesn’t always get looked at with VOD.
STIRR has seen steady growth in returning viewers. Ware said they make up a larger percentage than new viewers. People often come to STIRR for local newscasts, and then stick around for other programming on the STIRR City channel. STIRR City is the highest-rated channel on the service.
Over the next six months, STIRR plans to add 10 new national channels, as well as new STIRR City channels not covered by the Sinclair Broadcast Group footprint. Ware said that other local broadcast TV groups have been watching what Sinclair doing with STIRR and that some of them want to be a part of it. He said the process of bringing other local broadcast channels into STIRR City is not that dissimilar from being in the broadcast affiliate business. Aside from STIRR City, the bulk of STIRR programming can travel from market to market.