The launch of a dedicated three-minute local newscast produced specifically for mobile smartphones is a first for a regional outlet such as CTV BC. Hosted by anchor Coleen Christie, CTV NEWS DIGITAL EDITION is a demonstration of an evolving mobile strategy at CTV British Columbia News, one that can be easily customized and rolled out across the network’s many properties.

Production and delivery of what is now a daily edition can also be expanded for multiple newscasts through the day, providing updates, late breaking news and more to viewers in a specific region on a regular basis.
But, unlike some mobile media delivery plans that require dedicated apps running on specific devices, this newscast is accessible via a QR, or quick response code. They are the little black and white graphic grids that can be instantly are recognized by pretty much every camera equipped smartphone.

The newscast is produced and packaged in BC, and encoded for broadband delivery here, he described of the workflow. “That file goes to Limelight, to New York eventually, where they re-encode the content for at least 16 different but popular screen sizes and handset specifications. That pack is returned to CTV with one URL, which can then be embedded into the QR code or other digital media platforms.

More than a simple pointed to the content, QR codes and the accompanying URL are ‘smart tags’ able to not only detect handset type, native media player, but also speed of connection – 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi – so to maximize the viewing experience and media quality.

CTV BC is anticipating great revenue opportunities according to Heron Hanuman, the producer of the CTV News Digital Edition and Manager. Online there’s “a ton of opportunities” including the webpage itself with big box, banners, leaders board and other ad types. Digital alerts can be branded and delivered by request, and online contest and prize give-aways can entice more users.

Then, on air, there are of course mentions of the digital edition in the regular prime time newscast. In fact, a thirty second promo has been produced (0:25 for the mobile message, 0:05 for the sponsor placement.

In terms of packaging, Hanuman foresees the need, and “we have the ability, to deliver a morning edition, updated noon edition, and a commute or evening version; we’re already looking at that,” he acknowledged. “Here in B.C., we do not have a morning or noon hour TV show – that may change, but if not, I can envision a mobile newscast providing the compelling stories, breaking news and updates our audience expects.”

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