Nexstar Digital operates an award-winning portfolio of 125 websites backed by media assets spanning 200 broadcast stations across 116 U.S. markets. In 2021, they partnered with Stacker, and have since published thousands of stories from Stacker’s newswire to serve their diverse network.
Stacker's local and national content consistently drives traffic to Nexstar news sites that choose to publish from the newswire. The 15 million page views generated in 2023 alone underscore the impact of Stacker's content within Nexstar's digital ecosystem.
Stations utilizing Stacker’s newswire see considerable impact
“Stacker’s given us a lot more data-driven content that can inform on topics like housing and personal finance that are really important to people,” said Bill Disbrow, Nexstar’s senior director of content operations. “Having that ability to not just get a data set, but also get it broken out as Stacker does for the local community—that's huge in terms of the value and the utility people can find when they come to sites.”
Delving into stations such as NBC4 in Columbus, Ohio, the utilization of Stacker's local content proved to be a game-changer for weekend coverage in particular. NBC4 attributed 1.6 million page views to Stacker stories in 2023, featuring coverage like “Biggest snowfalls recorded in Ohio history” and “Counties with the highest cancer rates in Ohio.” These stories provided longevity, extending through the weekend into the following week.
“There’s a diversity element of it where you're not just on the news cycle. We have the ability to look at what you're producing and publish it at a time that's most opportune for us—that is really valuable, too,” Disbrow added.
Customized content access and partner success responsiveness
Although Stacker offers content delivery via a variety of RSS feed formats, Nexstar stations access the newswire via the content portal Story Hub, which houses Stacker’s full library. There are 150 Nexstar accounts active on Story Hub, where editors seamlessly sort by topic and region, look ahead at the content calendar, and save story preferences to activate custom email alerts. A dedicated member of Stacker’s Partner Success team also stays in regular communication with Nexstar.
“There's an openness to the way Stacker’s team operates, finding our best use for the content that you wouldn't necessarily feel coming through in every conversation from another wire, Disbrow said. “That sort of open door policy and the responsiveness when there's some kind of question, it's really great.“
Coverage at the national, state, metro, and county level
At the start of the partnership in 2021, the ratio of national to local content Nexstar published was fairly even. In recent years, Stacker expanded its hyperlocal coverage, and top-performing stories for Nexstar skewed local as a result.
Local content comprised a majority of the top 100 stories in terms of traffic on Nexstar sites in 2023. The breakdown reveals 22% of coverage focused on the county level, while metro- and state-level content each made up 34% of coverage, and the remaining 10% of coverage was of national stories.
“The movement toward local allowed the specificity for all of our markets to offer something unique to their audience. And when people find headlines on social [media] and on the home page, they're able to interact in a way that they just wouldn't if it was a national story,” Disbrow explained.
Strategic content selection by individual news sites underscores the diversity of Stacker's impact, with both localized, evergreen stories and periodic, national features. Nexstar's networkwide deployment of national stories, averaging once a month, taps into broad, timely themes like education rankings across states, American towns named after Christmas, and top regions for veteran-owned businesses.
Flexibility in localization and content repackaging
The transformative power of localized adaptations of national stories has emerged as a winning tactic, exemplified by the top two stories of 2023. Nexstar’s customization strategy is evident in stories such as “1 Colorado city among worst-run cities in the US” and “Bay Area community college named best in US.”
Other Stacker publishing partners have seen similar successful results when tailoring headlines. Multiple members of the Nexstar team value the flexibility around rewriting headlines. Stacker also permits the addition of original reporting or paring down the story so long as the story’s thesis remains unchanged and at least 50% of the content remains unchanged.
Stacker's licensing allows for wide usage of its stories; partners can repackage content into videos, newsletters, social media, and more.
Beyond the upsurge in page views, Stacker has recently helped grow video views for stations like WKRN in Nashville, which started creating videos like “Best counties to raise a family in Tennessee.” Aside from the 1 million page views WKRN garnered from Stacker content in 2023, videos with Stacker's content secured a place in WKRN's top 20 videos for the year, competing with popular weather video coverage. NBC4 also experimented with this content format from Stacker and garnered tens of thousands of video views.
The tangible impact of the Nexstar-Stacker partnership speaks volumes about the potency of curated, localized content in driving substantial digital viewership. The partnership will continue expanding in realms such as video content, warranting future case studies.
“Compared to our other ‘not-standard-across-the-industry’ partners, Stacker’s been a success story,” Disbrow said.
WE WOULD LOVE TO CONNECT
To learn more about how the Stacker Newswire can help you grow and retain your audience, reach out to us at publishers [at] stacker [dot] com.