Scripps plans to launch Newsy as free over-the-air channel

E.W. Scripps said it will launch its OTT news network, Newsy, as a free over-the-air channel beginning later this year.

The company said when Newsy launches on Oct. 1, it will be available over the air in at least 80% of U.S. television homes via Scripps-owned ION stations, select Scripps local television stations and other station groups’ networks. 

“Amid an increasingly polarized and divided national climate, Newsy will seize upon this opportunity to serve more Americans seeking quality objective journalism,” said Scripps Networks President Lisa Knutson in a statement. “As TV viewers ‘self-bundle’ by combining free television with subscription video-on-demand services, Newsy will build on its successes in OTT by joining the other Scripps Networks in the over the air marketplace to bring these viewers high-quality, free news programming.”

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Newsy will be headquartered in Atlanta and will have nearly a dozen bureaus across the country, including in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver and Phoenix. It will continue to use resources from the Scripps Washington Bureau and Scripps’ local TV stations in 41 markets.

Newsy said its newsgathering and programming plans, under the leadership of the incoming head of news, Kate O’Brian, will be announced over the coming months.  

Newsy is already available on connected TV platforms including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast as well as streaming services including Pluto TV, Xumo, Samsung TV+ and Vizio WatchFree. The company said its launch on OTA will hopefully build on its traction in the OTT marketplace.

“Scripps expects to capitalize on the growing and younger OTA audience by continuing to build a leading news brand that caters to a younger generation of active news viewers,” Knutson said. “With the launch of Newsy OTA, we lock in more valuable TV real estate for viewers to engage with our programming, allowing us to further monetize our already unparalleled ad inventory.”