Brian Short of TV 25 in Kansas City and Irwin Podhajser of Select TV spoke about the importance of over-the-top (OTT) channels in the LPTV industry during the ATBA’s Wednesday Webinar on May 6, 2020.
OTT channels are viewed through the internet rather than a traditional cable box. Therefore, it works as a streaming service, which is going to, and already is, taking the lead when it comes to more people “cord-cutting”.
“There’s nothing like trying to convince major, multicast networks to actually come onto your station without any cable carriage,” said Podhajser. “Several of the multicast networks wouldn’t even give us, in the early days, their programming for free, let alone pay for distribution.”
Now that cord-cutting is becoming more popular, a lot of LPTV stations that have never used the streaming option are questioning whether or not streaming is worth it and how they should go about it.
“Your biggest hurdle is your networks; some networks are open and some are not. I definitely encourage you to find some kind of CDN partner,” Short said. “We decided very early, while looking for CDNs, that we were able to partner with our multiplexer because they had made a product that was able to do exactly what we wanted to do and not have any kind of a monthly cost associated with it.”
“A rising tide lifts all boats, so if we can continue to create a fire under cord-cutting, the more people are going to be able to watch over-the-air (OTA) and then, as more OTT opportunities become available for low powers, its just going to increase their audience,” said Podhajser.
The ATBA webinars are on Wednesdays at 3pm CT. To access this meeting join the ATBA email list or check the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance site for updates.