TV stations are still figuring out how many resources are needed to fill their digital platforms. Many executives do agree about a need for more content, which is what digital media consumers now expect.
Steve Schwaid, vice president/digital strategies of media researcher CJ&N, writes that local TV stations’ digital sites demand 24/7 attention -- more time and effort than with traditional TV news programming.
Schwaid says that during the recent Paris attacks there were few news stories on many local TV stations’ sites, apart from a generic AP or CNN story. Additionally, there was even less locally skewed news about the attack -- as in what families/friends were affected in the area, or what local U.S. citizens felt about the attacks.
Of course there’s the business equation to contend with: How can TV stations add more staff in light of growing, but still small, digital advertising revenues -- perhaps a tenth or less of what a TV station pulls in for traditional linear programming?
Schwaid notes that now “more people may see your digital content than your newscasts. (If you doubt that, contact me and I’ll show you some missed opportunities.)” He thinks “many stations could shift three to six people to their digital side from the ‘broadcast’ staff and it would have no impact on your broadcast ratings.”
Many station groups, such Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Broadcasting, have acquired or are bolstering new digital advertising efforts, including programmatic systems, that can help local media buyers easily connect to local content.
But are they ready to shift content-producing resources to media platforms with question marks -- in terms of measurement, scale, and perhaps pricing efficiency? This can be a risky proposition.
Since the majority of the TV stations' "linear TV " news viewers are over 50 while their digital platforms, if suitably enhanced with timely information, would appeal mostly to 18-49-year-old audiences, this should be seen as a big opportunity---yet it seems that it isn't. Amazing!