NewFronts 2016: Newsy Launching Original Series

The video news channel will debut three new programs this summer

Newsy, the E.W. Scipps-owned OTT video news channel, is amplifying its efforts to snag millennial consumers – and the businesses that want to reach them – with new original programming and ad opportunities.

At the platform’s NewFronts foray Monday, General Manager Blake Sabatinelli announced that Newsy over the next few months will launch three original series, adding a new layer of programming to the 30 or so news stories currently produced each day.

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Asking for a Friend focuses on finding answers to those taboo questions no one wants to ask themselves. Americanize Me explores diversity through American food. The Blind Spot covers modern events such as the Rodney King beating and Oklahoma City bombing that millennials were too young to remember and never learned about in school.

“We see this as the beginning of diversification,” Sabatinelli says.

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The new programs will be long by Newsy standards (news stories typically run 75 to 90 seconds) yet will still be just 3 ½ minutes per episode, in keeping with millennial preferences, he said.

“We still don’t build for traditional broadcast,” Sabatinelli said.  “We build for the short attention span.”

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The programs will be produced primarily by Newsy’s newsrooms in Columbia, Mo., Chicago and Washington, which handle the bulk of the channel's daily stories, he said.

The original programs also will be used to offer businesses exclusive sponsorship opportunities, part of Newsy’s effort to offer clients “a more holistic approach to advertising,” he said.

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That includes making the process easier, he said. The Newsy Brand Studio, also announced Monday, will help advertisers produce native video content, whether it's used for program sponsorships or pre-roll and mid-roll ads, he said.

“We think that it’s a good way for advertisers to come in and really have the opportunity to speak to our very young and diversified users,” Sabatinelli said. “We know we need to add something more robust to expand our footprint.”