The company also said STIRR has attracted more than 1.6 million app downloads during its first year.
Sinclair, the No. 2 owner of local stations, made the announcement on the first day of NATPE, the major conference for syndicators and station executives in Miami. Along with the election initiative, the company also said STIRR will soon offer popular syndicated shows like Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. By the end of March, episodes from syndicated TV shows originally aired by the Sinclair broadcast stations will start being made available to viewers on demand and after their linear airtime, depending on where viewers live.
The new 2020 LIVE channel will offer a continuous stream of live election coverage, giving viewers live access to daily campaign event feeds from across the country, including town hall meetings and stump speeches. While Sinclair has been known to lean right, airing conservative commentary segments across its portfolio of local stations and helping play a role in President Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory, the new channel will have no commentary. In a press release announcing the service, Sinclair promised it would deliver “the most transparent, bias-free view” of the campaign.
“STIRR’s offering of live, local news content reflects that its purpose isn’t to solely entertain, but to serve members of local communities and provide information that impacts their lives,” Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said. “We’re incredibly proud of the growth and success the platform has seen throughout the year, and look forward to providing users with more value. With the addition of local broadcast TV syndication programming coming to the platform, we’re excited for what the next year has in store for STIRR.”
Since launching one year ago with 24 channels, STIRR now offers audiences 100 linear channels, and more than 5,000 hours of free, on-demand content. This includes the STIRR City channel, a curated, 24/7 linear TV station with a lineup based on the viewer’s location, offering local news and sports, as well as syndicated TV series, movies and city-focused lifestyle programming to audiences across country. In 2019, more than 130,000 hours of live, local news were streamed across STIRR City channels.