Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How much News on Local TV?

While industry surveys show incremental growth in local TV news schedules in the last few years, one report suggests that it's the few mega-news broadcast stations that are really profiting from the expansion of local news operations.  In particular, there's a group of stations, predominantly Fox O&Os or Fox affiliates, that have been very successful while airing more than 60 hours of local news a week. 
   As a network, Fox has no network news broadcast, the smallest primetime schedule, and offers very little daytime network programming - which translates as more potential time for news or other content. 
   The report suggests that several factors can contribute to the growth in local TV news.  Locally produced programming, like local news, is one of the few areas where the station controls all of the advertising spots, and thus gets all the revenues.  Historically, even with more traditional levels of news content, local news brings in about 50% of a station's total revenues.  Expanding the amount of news programming is also fairly inexpensive, as added programs can recycle stories, use stories and content that didn't make their primary newscasts, and offer significant opportunities for soft news coverage of local events and community activities.  New newscasts in the fringe hours (between midnight and the start of the morning network shows) can be done with minimal cost, while offering a means for local broadcasters to stay relevant in an era of 24/7 cable news channels and the Internet.  In addition, the relative low cost and increased revenue potential of newscasts can be a better bargain that filling mid-day schedules with increasingly high-priced syndicated programs.
Station leaders say that airing local news when others can’t — for, say, four to five hours in the morning, or from late afternoon straight until 7 p.m. — has given them an edge with viewers, who see them as the closest things to 24/7 news on broadcast TV.
“You almost can’t get away from us,” says Dana Hahn, news director at WJBK, which airs two hours more news before lunch (7.5 hours) than the average station airs all day. Morning news, which starts at 4:30 a.m., runs straight until noon. News returns for another 90 minutes at 5 p.m., and again at 10 for another 90 minutes.
WJBK's efforts in Detroit seem to be paying off, with their morning and late afternoon newscasts coming in number 1 among adults in the 25-54 age demographic, and coming in second in direct competition with local Big Three affiliates' newscasts.
   Going long with local news can also provide the buffer and time to follow through with breaking news and to pursue enterprise stories.
“Because we’re effectively in news 24/7, it gives us the opportunity to makes sure our stories are accurately researched so that we have really strong hooks into the story,” says Bill Schneider, GM of Fox-owned WAGA Atlanta... “We’re not pressed for news and sound bites.”
   The longer news schedule also allows more opportunity for community outreach, and can help to build engagement and trust with the local community -
“For our viewers, it doesn’t matter what time you’re heading out to work or whether you’re sleeping late,” Hahn says. “We are going to be there for you.”
   The strategy may not work for everyone, but is something for news directors, station managers, and station owners to consider.

Source -  More News Turns Out To Be Good NewsTV Newscheck

No comments:

Post a Comment