How Wurl TV is ‘linearizing’ internet channels

People are watching more video and they are doing so across a growing number of online publishers and streaming networks; but they are also watching at least the same amount of linear TV.

This is where Wurl TV comes in.

Wurl TV delivers content from these online publishers and internet-based TV channels to cable TV and OTT services. The network includes channels from IGN TV, Newsy, Baeble Music TV, the ALT Channel, Tastemade, Condé Nast, and others. For publishers, Wurl gives them another avenue to expand their audiences. For cable operators, who are continuously seeking new ways to retain subscribers, they have more content to offer. TiVo, though not a cable provider (but facing many of the same challenges of them), recently struck a deal to deliver Wurl network content to its customers.

Wurl TV recently hired Mike Woods, formerly the vice president of product management at Maker Studios, as its new senior vice president and head of product, as the company looks to expand its channel offerings and capabilities.

For more on Wurl TV, we spoke with CEO and founder Sean Doherty:

Found Remote:  When people with cable turn on their TVs and are looking for news, they still turn to CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC in very large numbers. So why would having access to a channel like Newsy be enticing to them?

Sean Doherty: You should really ask Newsy this. My understanding is that those legacy news channels have poor ratings with young viewers.  I think the reasons include: biased reporting, too slick and un-authentic, etc.  Newsy is very popular with younger audiences. I believe that Newsy currently generate more minutes of viewing with 18-24 years olds than any of those networks.

FR: Why is it important for digital channels to have a linear presence? 

Doherty: Linear viewing dominates minutes of viewing. Our digital-first customers are looking for audience engagement. Linear is where the largest audience is.

FR: How do cable operators benefit from having these additional channels?

Doherty: There are many reasons. Cable operators are looking for new and more diverse programming – including new programming that will programming that will appeal to their most at-risk audience – millennials. Additionally, cable operators want to offer viewers an alternative to the programming produced giant cable networks (Viacom, Disney, Turner, etc.). Lastly, cable operators are actively moving programming to IP delivery (like our channels) for benefits related to network efficiencies, personalization and vastly improved ad targeting.

FR: What data can you share about how viewers are consuming digital content via the existing partnerships you have with companies like TiVo? Is there really demand for these channels? 

Doherty: Too early to share any metrics, but there is clear demand.

FR: Digital channels could negotiate directly with cable operators. What’s the benefit of working through Wurl, then?

Doherty: Our customers often negotiate directly with operators. In those cases, provide services – linearization, playout, transcoding, distribution, metadata, etc. – but they do their own carriage deals.

Adam Flomenbaum

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