After The Gannett Spinoff, Tegna Builds Up Its OTT Ads Business

premionAfter Tegna spun off its broadcast and digital media business from Gannett in 2015, it built a managed services unit called Premion, focused on over-the-top advertising in regional and local markets.

Premion initially used Tegna’s 700-person sales force but is now bulking up with dedicated sales staff.

“We just brought on a regional sales director in Dallas and are hiring a regional sales director in New York and Los Angeles,” said Jim Wilson, president of Premion. “We’ll be building out regional teams to complement the larger Tegna sales team.”

Premion takes advantage of Tegna’s TV footprint in 38 local broadcast markets, which consists of 46 local television stations, making it the largest independent network affiliate for TBS and NBC in the United States.

Premion also formed over-the-top inventory partnerships with 80 OTT providers, including Sling TV, Xumo and Pluto TV, in order to pool inventory for regional and local advertisers.

This strategy was purposeful because inventory in regional and local markets can be spotty. While there are a significant number of impressions, Wilson argues they’re not fully aggregated or automated.

Rather than negotiate buys with individual OTT providers, Premion claims it can consolidate an advertiser’s TV plan into a single I/O with one set of creative and run the campaign across numerous OTT providers to improve frequency capping.

And because of its digital assets including G/O Digital, CareerBuilder and, which is owned by Tegna but now operates independently, Premion claims it brings a data management capability outside of Tegna’s own TV properties. 

Premion tends to work with two types of clients.

“We’re seeing anywhere from a tier-2 auto [dealer group] down to a local market law firm that wants to address changing video habits and get their message and brand reach out into the local market,” Wilson explained. “But we’re even seeing ad agencies and clients at the national level who need help navigating a very fragmented over-the-top video space.”

Another emerging client base is content owners who need help monetizing video in the OTT and video on-demand space.

“We’ve gone out and cut relationships with at least 12 different media companies to become their regional and local ad services partner,” Wilson said. “While they’re focusing on national relationships, we’re complementing that with regional and local ad sales opportunities [to increase] their fill [rate].”


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