In The Race for Local Ad Dollars, Are Big Tech Plans Enough?

Local TV stations believe they need more room to grow. Others call it room to fall.

Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, touted numbers recently that local TV stations pull in only 16% of all local advertising. Conversely, more internet/online platforms are offering innovative localized and targeted commercials.

Estimates are total local advertising will hit $148.8 billion this year, according to BIA/Kelsey -- with local TV accounting for a 13.3% share, and local TV-based digital revenues amounting to 0.7%.

What’s the promise for local TV? Future technology systems that can one-up internet/digital businesses, as well as other content distribution systems.

That is what the new proposed ATSC 3.0 standard is about. It can deliver up to five times the amount of data as the existing digital broadcast standard. For the consumer, it will offer "lower costs than conventional wireless systems."

Also included in ATSC’s promise is better local targeted/addressable advertising — another hopeful revenue generator.



That's good news. Right now, the biggest of the digital-advertising platforms — Google and Facebook — continue to irk some traditional media buyers when it comes to video metrics. Smaller digital platforms have these issues, as well.

Local TV stations may have a better rep with advertisers — despite legacy, paper-centric deals for local media ad selling and buying.

But premium digital media platforms — slowly getting better at transparency, viewability, safety and other issues — will continue to eat away at business from traditional/linear local TV.

Despite its issues, local TV still has the power of the big screen — major marketers say it is effective — especially when it comes to their key value local news content.

Can it figure out a way — quickly — to power up its businesses?

Ripley said: "When you look at the entire communications industry, broadcasting is a pimple.”  The goal then? A beauty mark, maybe?

This column previously ran June 22.

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