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Industry Focus: Looking Ahead to 2014

As 2013 draws to a close it is time to reflect on the year that has passed. As broadcasters we know that it is equally as important to look forward into what the New Year holds. Station revenue is always top of mind. Multi-platform systems should be considered. And how to proceed as online and second screen news consumption rises. s.

2014 Revenue

There will be modest upswing in revenue due to the 2014 midterm political races. Only 35 of the 50 states have races and few of those will be “money makers”. Even in states with hotly contested races, stations cannot count on political dollars to generate all of their needed revenue. Local stations need to explore other revenue opportunities. On-air, online and mobile sponsorships are one way to tap into new revenue and new advertisers. Insurance companies, due to the Affordable Care Act and the Auto Industry are also both very promising areas for revenue growth. (see Sept Industry Focus: Where the Ad Dollars Are) No station will be able to count solely on political advertising. There are plenty of opportunities to augment the political spending in other ways.

Multi-Platform Systems

As the needs of the station news, sales and marketing teams change, engineers are often brought in to acquire new systems and equipment. Stations will need to invest in equipment and infrastructure that can deliver the same content or message to multiple platforms. It is crucial for one system to disseminate identical information on-air, online and on mobile devices. Systems and equipment that can handle integrated messaging helps lower operational costs, improves efficiencies and can ease the workload of the station’s news and engineering staff.

Online News Consumption

Second screen viewing and online news consumption will continue to rise. On-demand, online and video and streaming video offers a more immediate, personalized and customized experience. The New Year is the perfect time to embrace this trend. Stations should develop and train their staff for this shift to “web journalism”. Also vital is a focus on technologies that create seamless and easier to operate mobile apps and streaming video. Stations that nurture and grow their online and social media news desks will see the greatest benefits both in viewers and in revenue.

Nobody can say for certain what the future will hold or what will happen by the end of the next year. Broadcasters know that better than perhaps anyone else. The future of local television is always evolving and local broadcasters need to do their best to evolve with it.

Happy Holidays and Prosperous New Year!