What about looking for the next wave of TV news consumers: millennials? That has always been a question mark. At the then-Al-Gore-owned Current network -- before Keith Olbermann arrived, and albeit for what seems like a long weekend -- that channel in part tried catering to the needs of those young viewers.
Now another channel wants to have a go of it: a 24-hour network called TouchVision that can feed local stations a single hour, multiple hours, or a full schedule of news. Broadcasters, for example, could carry the network on one of their local digital channels, one could surmise.
TouchVision programming will have anchor-less news shows, with content coming through news packages featuring off-screen narration and on-air video/graphics.
The idea is to hit a “storytelling” spot between straight-ahead TV news and disposable/less-meaty entertainment news. Stations in New York (WWOR) and Houston (KIAH) have already tried this approach with uneven results.
Naturally, any younger-skewing network will want its content to play on every new digital platform and service -- perhaps starting mobile platform, where lots of young viewers reside, by giving them bite-size news video, as well as streaming video.
Trouble is, all this is still a niche market. Big quantities of older news viewers still bring cable news networks lots of “scale” -- something that isn’t always the case with young viewers. This scale brings in more national advertisers like financial services, including insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and high-priced consumer products.
One could claim that fractionalization of TV and other media should give all viewers what they want, so why not a young-skewing news network? It could, in theory. But transitional TV business models are still in flux.
Historical research has shown that young viewers -- say 12- to 34 years old – aren’t all that interested in news. Storytelling sounds like a good tool. But it is enough when it comes to fast-breaking news? Some many claim there should be a better, entertaining, way to provide quick, real-time analysis from live on-air talent. Others might say there has been too much analysis from the current batch of news networks and programmers -- just get rid of it.
Hey, other local station newscasts -- like WDRB’s in Louisville -- no longer use the term “breaking news.” Instead WDRB touts “good journalism and storytelling.” Why? Seems that everyone overuses the term “breaking news,” which at best isn’t all that breaking, and, at worst, is a lie.
TV news millennials probably figured this out anyway.