Holding Back TV News? Not For Sweeps Or Main Newscasts

Local TV news programs are already transitioning -- perhaps too slowly, for some. Breaking/big news stories aren’t just for those four month-long “sweep” periods.

This is only the start.

Those stories shouldn’t be about where that content runs on traditional daily TV news programs -- all this should be considered in relation to “real-time” digital media moments.

Media viewers shouldn’t be teasing into waiting for those big TV news stories that come around four times a year, according to Patrick Paolini, VP/GM of Fox TV stations WTTG/WDCA.  All comes back to what TV station needs to do when it comes to their digital media platforms.  

Trouble is, traditional local TV programming is still where TV stations’ bread is buttered  -- where they make the most bang for their buck with advertisers.  



Digital advertising revenues for local TV stations -- derived mostly from its news content --- is now at around $1.0 billion -- up 10% from the year before, according to estimates. But this is tiny, compared to the roughly $20 billion in advertising revenue TV stations get from traditional live, linear TV.

For its part TV stations have -- for a number of years -- done wonders to increase news efforts throughout the day on linear, live TV.  Should they perhaps do more, perhaps air wall-to-wall news completely in the daytime hours?

But how much longer can that last, when the news cycle continues at lightening speed? Even the hint that TV stations or networks are holding back isn’t good. The new digital media world needs better TV station editorial discretion.

Take NBC News’ Lester Holt recent interview with President Trump about the firing of FBI director James Comey. NBC News was smart enough to release some of the big news on its cable news network, MSNBC, and its associate site. But then -- not to leave itself high and dry -- it also revealed perhaps lesser important content -- and context -- for its other NBC broadcast network programming.

Most local TV stations don’t have vibrant, alternative platforms -- either through local cable, multicast over-the-air digital TV signals, or websites -- to share this kind of information.

TV stations can claim big reach of viewers when it comes to their DMAs. But increasingly new digital media consumers -- including millennials -- who may have been live, linear TV watchers, now wait for nothing.

1 comment about "Holding Back TV News? Not For Sweeps Or Main Newscasts".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 16, 2017 at 10:23 a.m.

    Wayne, your typical ABC, CBS,NBC affiliate's "local" program effort consists mainly of news, as you note, plus a few syndicated talk and courtroom shows in the daytime and late afternoos and prime access syndicated fare---celebrity newsmags and game shows, usually-- between 7-8PM. All of these genres play mostly to old or very old audiences. In contrast, your typical Fox or CW "affiliate" is an independent station which has much less news but relies heavily on syndicated content---talk shows in the daytime and off-network sitcoms---mostly---in the early and late evenings. The sitcoms are where the younger audiences are mostly to be found. Why either type of station would go all news escapes me---especially the independents which air "network shows only between 8-10pm per evening. The ABC, CBS, NBC outlets already have too many over 50 eyeballs to sell as it is, why program for more with wall to wall news?Their problem is how to increase their weak 18-49 viewership---- moreĀ  news isn't the solution.

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