Tegna executive outlines multiplatform content development

From left to right: Colin Dixon, nScreenMedia; Mike Green, Brightcove; Ralf Jacob, Verizon Digital Media Services; Erynn Petersen, Synacor; Bob Sullivan, Tegna; and Geoff Wolinetz, FreeWheel. (Ben Munson)

LAS VEGAS—Linear television has been upgraded from its DOA prognosis a few years ago, but it will still need to evolve further to thrive as on-demand viewing continues to grow.

Bob Sullivan, senior vice president of programming for Tegna Media, said that traditionally, local news is considered to be broadcast’s core business. But he said Tegna has begun doing multiplatform content development with shows like “Daily Blast Live,” which Sullivan said averages 2 million viewers per week on Facebook and pulls in as big a total digital audience as it gets across 36 broadcast stations.

“Daily Blast Live,” a 30-minute daytime news and entertainment show Tegna launched last year, is part of Tegna’s strategy to drive engagement with viewers.

“We have to push and pull,” Sullivan said, referring to creating a narrative and an interactive element with Tegna’s audience. Instead of strictly waiting for the audience to show up at certain linear television timeslots, Tegna has gone out to meet its audience on digital platforms. And the resulting data is helping Tegna improve its programming.

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Sullivan said that the only broadcast analytics he has right now is from Nielsen. But once broadcasters begin to capture and analyze data the viewership data out there, they’ll be able to better personalize experiences for viewers and target ads.

“One of the things we didn’t plan for with Daily Blast Live is the social engagement data that’s coming in,” Sullivan said. “Tegna is using that data on a regular basis to reformat our content and then experimenting how it translates over to the broadcast side.”

“Nielsen is working as hard as they can, they tell us, to advance their measurement products,” Sullivan said. He added that Tegna is still presenting Nielsen ratings to advertisers but also showing social engagement numbers as well.