Launch Of First Financial Over the Top (OTT) Channel Of Its Kind

In October 2017, TD Ameritrade Media Productions Company broke into the world of broadcasting with its first-ever financial news network. What started with an idea to provide real-time market news and investor education to clients became a reality in nine short months with the launch of the TD Ameritrade Network.

“The idea to create a network essentially came from our clients, who told us they like to have access to live market news on investing platforms, like the [thinkorswim® platform] they’re familiar with,” said Katie Ryan, director, TD Ameritrade Network. “We believe that knowledge drives confidence, and we wanted to enrich our clients’ investing experience through a new media channel.”

With a goal of providing interactive market news, the team at TD Ameritrade Network focused on breaking down and interpreting market news in an easily digestible, entertaining format. 

“The TD Ameritrade Network is the first financial news outlet to fully embrace the cord-cutting philosophy of today’s changing media,” said Driss Sekkat, executive producer, TD Ameritrade Network. “Our mission from the beginning has been to provide market news in an innovative way, providing the audience with an objective, data driven analysis of the market.”

Building a TV network was no easy task. A team of associates banded together, partnered with industry vendors, and began constructing a studio set in the TD Ameritrade Network’s Chicago office in April 2018. With a tight deadline, the team built a TV studio in what was once a few offices and conference rooms. Working day and night, show ideas started to emerge, as did the stage set, lighting, and on-air graphic design packages for each show. Shortly after, teams of producers, writers and technical staff were hired, as well as show anchors and contributors. 

“Developing the broadcast environment was an evolution, and we are still on that journey,” said Ryan. “We had to learn about our viewers’ behaviors and then figure out the best way to deliver content that can support their trading habits and enrich their investment journey.”

After countless months of construction, production and rehearsals, the TD Ameritrade Network built out a full time Over-the-Top (OTT) network with eight hours of daily programming featuring journalists and guest financial professionals covering real-time market news. The team also reached their goal of creating curated content along with insights that can help investors better understand the markets and potential investment options. 

“The network has the potential to reach all of our clients faster, be them investor, trader or registered investment advisor, as they’re looking to understanding on what’s happening in the markets and why,” said JJ Kinahan, Chief Market Strategist at TD Ameritrade. “With more than 11 million client accounts, we have incredible insight into retail investors and what kind of content they’re craving.”

The network initially kicked off with four hours of content, which quickly expanded to eight hours. Each day starts and ends with a show that is intended to examine market news and break down events from the day. Morning Trade Live is a two-hour program in the morning, hosted by former Bloomberg journalist, Oliver Renick, focusing on market commentary and overnight financial news. To close the day, the network airs Market On Close, also hosted by Renick, which highlights events and market moves from the day and helps investors understand what it means for them.

For clients who are users of TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform, SwimLessons is a daily dose of trader education. The live broadcast is designed to sharpen users’ platform skills and hone in on their trading knowledge. During each show, instructors walk investors through ways to place and manage simulated trades in the paperMoney® application.

The network itself will continue to grow as new programs are added and the news lineup is changed based on investor demand. 

“We will be launching two new shows in July and will have new talent joining our roster of show hosts,” said Ryan. “Plus, we anticipate that the network will be streaming 24/5 by the end of the summer.”

This brand new direct-to-consumer, broadband delivered OTT broadcast channel is available on the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader App, the thinkorswim platform, and Just open the Trader TV module and select “TD Ameritrade Network” from the drop down menu, and you’ll see it right there on the screen. Investors can also watch TD Ameritrade Network on any device they choose and have the ability to easily curate and view “bite-sized” archived sessions anytime, on demand. 

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