Very Local, Hearst Television’s free streaming service, has made its way to Vizio smart TVs.
Vizio users will have access to Hearst’s collection of curated local free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels, which offer content from the company’s broadcast footprint. Through Very Local, users can stream 24-7 local news as well as original series about food, travel, adventure, dating and true crime.
Very Local’s debut on Vizio comes just over a month after Allen Media Group’s Local Now service added 27 Hearst FAST channels, each serving a local market.
"The addition of the Vizio platform marks a major step in the growth of our distribution for Very Local's programming,” stated Andrew Fitzgerald, SVP of streaming video services at Hearst Television. "We want to reach consumers with quality local content wherever they are and on their own timetable, and working with Vizio helps us substantially in that objective.”
Very Local first launched in September 2021 as a way to advance Hearst’s digital footprint. Aside from Vizio, the app is available on platforms including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV as well as LG and Samsung smart TVs.
Local news is particularly fueling FAST growth. The Roku Channel in June partnered with NBCUniversal to bring eight NBC local news channels to the platform. Roku later launched three more NBC news channels, covering the San Diego, Boston and San Francisco local markets.
Weather is another growing genre in the FAST space. Fox Weather President Sharri Berg recently discussed with Fierce Video the app’s efforts in providing detailed coverage of Hurricane Ian and how the FAST service enhanced its visibility one year post-launch.
Local content is also important it can deter some consumers from cutting the cord. TiVo earlier this year found 84% of consumers want access to local programming and sports, but struggled to find that content on streaming services compared to cable or satellite.
As for Vizio, its FAST service WatchFree+ is the second most popular free app – behind YouTube – on Vizio’s SmartCast platform. WatchFree+ features hundreds of channels, including CNN, NBC News Now and Fox Sports.