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Industry Focus: Local Broadcast Evolution

Pew Research Center study over the last few years has shown that local television newscasts have been trending towards fewer edited package stories. The packaged stories stations do run have also become shorter in length but the importance of local news and weather to the local community has not changed.

With fewer and shorter packaged stories, stations have begun to place an increased emphasis on weather, traffic and local sports. Even as stations evolve to meet the demand for increased local coverage there is an ever growing number of sources outside of television that provide viewers with that information at the click of a button. Local stations need to continue to evolve to become solidly branded information providers across multiple platforms and embrace new options for revenue generation.

Embrace cross platform storytelling –

As social media sites quickly become favored sources for news, local broadcasters need to accept and evolve into social media in order to retain their relevance as the preeminent news source. Integrating camera images and video into the social media mix social allows local stations to become the first place people turn to for accurate breaking news and weather information. Some stations have been using social media as part of their news strategy since its inception while others have not fully committed to the medium for one reason or another. It is time for all local stations to embrace the social media news revolution as another way to connect with viewers and drive web traffic with the instant and accurate details they are looking for.

Consider new avenues for new revenue –

Sponsorship in general is not a new concept but it has certainly evolved over the years. Sponsor logos and verbal mentions during segments are being seen more and more during each newscast and rightfully so. Sponsorships are a logical and simple way for stations to generate significant new revenue. In-content sponsorship creates additional advertising inventory outside of :15/:30 second spots and appeals to advertisers because their logo and company name is associated with coveted locations in the newscast. Sponsorships have grown beyond on-air with web and mobile opportunities offering even more exposure for advertisers and revenue potential for stations.

Consistent branding is more important than ever –

Branding is one of the most important elements of marketing your station. A TV station’s brand helps to attract potential viewers, establish viewer loyalty, increase credibility and ultimately generate revenue. With local news expanding across multiple platforms, strong and consistent branding is imperative. If done correctly a solid brand can increase viewership, solidify your position as the news and weather leader and generate revenue.

Beyond the headlines there have been many changes in local television broadcasting over the years and the changes seem to only be coming faster and faster. Now is the time for local stations to take a hard look at what they can do to evolve with the trends to engage viewers and generate revenue without sacrificing solid, accurate reporting.