Local Streaming Startup Zeam Hopes That John Stamos Can Introduce It to a Crowded Market (Exclusive)

Can local TV make the jump to streaming? A startup called Zeam is betting that it can, and it plans to use Super Bowl Sunday and actor John Stamos to help introduce itself to the market.

Launched by the local TV tech firm Syncbak (which in turn is backed by the local TV station owner Gray TV, the National Association of Broadcasters, Morgan Murphy Media and others), Zeam will combine local news, sports and other content, with founder Jack Perry describing it as a “place to land” after people binge other content.

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In a twist to the traditional Super Bowl ad, Zeam will be buying ad space in more than 100 local markets during the game, with Stamos surprising viewers by addressing each market specifically (think, “Hey Des Moines!”). The company is planning an eight-figure marketing campaign, kicking off with its Super Bowl Sunday effort.

“The decision was was for me really simple: These are my Station partners, and I’m going to buy the avails directly from them,” Perry said, adding that there will also be an associated national campaign. “It just felt like the right thing to do, buy them directly from my CBS affiliates during their biggest day of the year. I don’t know that anyone has ever done that.”

“The media and creative plan that we executed has never been done at this scale, ever,” adds Ross Martin, president of marketing agency Known, which produced the spot. “And what we’re able to do is use our technology at Known to optimize all of the media and all of the creative for every single market across the country, which means that John Stamos is literally talking to you, no matter where you live.

“So if you’re in St. Louis, you’re in Redding, you’re in Albuquerque, he’s literally talking to you in what seems like a national ad, because it’s in the Super Bowl, but it’s in local time,” he adds. “And so that’s going to be sort of jarring and shocking, and very addressable and very relevant.”

The local portion of the ad itself will be a surprise (though you can see it below), but Known and Zeam are hoping it surprises viewers.

“John Stamos is incredibly sexy, incredibly funny, and incredibly adorable, but he’s a completely unnecessary celebrity spokesperson, which you really won’t find and don’t need very much of on Zeam,” Martin says. “And that’s the joke, right?”

Zeam will launch with more than 300 local stations covering about 80 percent of the U.S., including deals with Gray, CBS, Hearst and Morgan Murphy. Syncbak already powers the streaming for hundreds of local stations.

“We power live streaming on a Paramount+ and Hulu and Apple TV and Roku and Fire TV, so our tech side of the house is has been historically the number one live streaming platform out there,” Perry says. “So the decision to go out with our own consumer play was was fairly straightforward.”

“Taylor Sheridan is kind of winning the binge wars, so you’re going off to watch Yellowstone. It became clear to us when the viewer is done with Yellowstone or whatever it is they’re streaming, they needed a place to land, they needed a kind of a home base,” Perry adds. “And through our partnership with the people at Known we put several months into developing the Zeam brand. It’s a verb … people are becoming Zeamers, we’re gonna Zeam in and you know, we’re even leaning in on don’t stream it, Zeam it.”

Watch the 30 second spot, below:

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