Local Fox Newscasts: Attached to Bigger Branding Issues

Some Fox TV stations newscasts are guilty-by-brand association. Not that advertisers' really care.

Fox TV stations say they are getting a bum rap -- that the Fox News Channel is rubbing them the wrong way when it comes to their viewers and getting people to appear on their news shows. Seems some Democrat-politicians think some local Fox TV stations are just like the big guys - that the bigger brand-association from the cable network carries over to the local level with a conservative minded, hard-opinionated point of view.

We haven't heard of any NBC affiliates having problems because of an affiliation with the NBC name in MSNBC, of which that cable news organization seemingly has a more liberal, more Democrat point of view. We haven't heard of the Des Moines NBC affiliate having trouble getting a Republican-congressional representative on its airwaves.

We can understand the frustration. You would think local Fox stations would have a strong enough identity to begin with. Local marketing tag lines -- say about being fair and balanced -- only take you so far.



We noticed KTTV Los Angeles takes in a Fox Business Channel segment regularly for its nightly newscast featuring Neil Cavuto. Seems like it's all business here. But we wonder if a short commentary from, say, a more pumped up Fox News personality would have the same effect.

TV stations can't be completely to blame for getting overwhelmed by bigger TV branding. But they can find some interesting points of comparison. For all its perception about its size and popularity with viewers, Fox News Channel's best rated TV shows pulled in three million viewers a night -- that's around one percent of the entire U.S. population.

TV stations have been hammered with broadcast ratings erosion - just like other TV platforms. For their part, advertisers still care about being on the right platforms - news or otherwise -- that fit their products. But they also like high ratings.

The remedy for Fox affiliates is unfortunately tougher work: Make the content and journalism better and make sure local TV viewers know about it.

1 comment about "Local Fox Newscasts: Attached to Bigger Branding Issues".
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  1. Dave Robinson from O'Leary and Partners, June 25, 2010 at 12:56 p.m.

    Good, thoughtful piece (as always).

    I think the lack of connection of MSNBC to NBC affiliates is a result of two factors:

    1) a long history of NBC Nightly News, contrasted with no broadcast news division or bewscast
    2) the relatively low ratings of MSNBC

    Keep up the good work!

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