A series of major national news events – from the COVID-19 pandemic to wild winter weather in Texas – as well as strong in-depth local coverage helped propel the Spectrum News App to reach 1 million downloads in less than eight months since its launch in July 2020.
The App is a major piece of Spectrum Networks’ multi-platform strategy, designed to align with the customer journey throughout the day. The goal is to enable customers to read, watch and listen to local, regional and national news stories on the device of their choice. Also helping to drive rapid user adoption is the App’s ease of use, clean and intuitive user interface, and, perhaps most importantly, relevant hyperlocal news that has a direct bearing on users’ everyday lives.
To learn more about how the App reached this important milestone so quickly, we caught up with Katie Lombardi, Vice President, Digital, Spectrum Networks who explained it’s all part of Spectrum Networks’ strategy to give customers multiple ways to engage and stay informed.
Charter Newsroom: Congratulations on the App reaching this key milestone. Tell us how Spectrum Networks’ multi-platform strategy helped propel the App to reach 1 million downloads so quickly.
Lombardi: The fact that we are on all platforms helps, especially during breaking news events and critical moments. Customers appreciate the flexibility that Spectrum News provides to stay connected wherever and whenever they want. For example, they are able to listen to a podcast or read an article in the App when they’re on the go, and then when they get home, they turn on their TV to watch the news, or one of our nightly political programs.
In terms of our strategy, we are focused on the customer journey - their habits and the needs they have at different points throughout the day. They may wake up in the morning and watch one of our meteorologists give a quick weather report - but when they are commuting, they may want to listen to one of our in-depth podcasts. Giving customers multiple ways to engage with us is the basis for our strategy – it’s why we’re an essential part of their daily lives.
Also, we have this base of highly engaged viewers on our linear networks, so we were able to tap into that base, and message to them about the App, which was really helpful in spreading the word.
Charter Newsroom: You mentioned breaking news being a factor – would you say the quality of the coverage of local events also helped boost user adoption?
Lombardi: Absolutely. We know that customers turn to the Spectrum News App throughout the day, but we see consistent increases in engagement when there’s locally relevant political events, severe weather and breaking news. Those result in the biggest spikes. In a relatively short amount of time, the App has become that place - in addition to our linear networks - for information during critical moments.
Charter Newsroom: Can you give some examples of the types of news stories that helped drive adoption and how people rely on Spectrum Networks in times of need?
Lombardi: The strongest example is how customers have been using the App to get information on all-things COVID. More than 100,000 individuals have used the App on a weekly basis for vaccination resources, information on local and state restrictions, and stories about the overall impact of the pandemic on families, communities and local businesses. That’s a consistent theme across all of our markets - our coronavirus-related coverage has really resonated and been essential to customers looking for credible and community-specific information.
Also, national and political news – such as Inauguration Day and President Biden’s signing of executive orders – resulted in significant increases in engagement. What customers really appreciate is our ability to localize national news, for example, the article “Biden has Signed Dozens of Executive Orders, Here’s What They Could Mean for North Carolina” was the most read article North Carolina for the week of January 20-26.
Extreme weather coverage was also a huge usage driver, especially in Texas when the winter storms hit in February. Many of our customers who lost power during that week were able to turn to the App and get the information they needed. During Hurricane Eta, in Florida, time spent in the App was quadruple what it was compared with the weeks leading up to the storm.
We are so excited about reaching this milestone. It underscores the value of local news, generally, and our stellar reporting. And it demonstrates the value that we provide to Spectrum customers. Our business is built on our relationship with the audience - and now the App, combined with our linear networks, has strengthened that connection, by giving them more ways to stay informed with us.
Learn more about Spectrum Networks here.