Want Local TV In Future? Get A New Set!

HDTV sets? 4KTV TV sets? Maybe it’s time for a change. How about new ATSC 3.0 TV sets?

New technology for local TV stations could mean another TV set purchase for consumers — which is good and bad news.

This comes as local TV stations modernize, looking to compete with new digital media players, which have plenty of valuable targeting and ROI metrics, but not the scale that TV stations have.

The FCC has now approved “Next Gen” technology — the ATSC 3.0 standard. Long-term critics of the move believed TV consumers would eventually be forced to buy new TV sets. In the near term, consumers might need new set-top-box technology to accommodate ATSC 3.0.

For the first five years, under the new rules, TV stations will need to simulcast current TV standard digital signals along with new ATSC 3.0 signals. After that, consumers will need TV sets with ATSC 3.0 tuners or “external tuners” — a stand-alone box or "stick" via HDMI connection — to receive network and local TV programming over-the-air.



Nice. And you thought your Ultra HDTV would last for at least a decade.

With current methods, a TV measurer can only determine the size of the household and some particular consumer purchase behavior. But much of this isn’t in real-time, and they don’t know who in the household is watching.

For advertisers, next-generation local TV station technology is a big deal. Marketers have long asked for better buying, targeting and accounting capabilities for local commercials.

But what if all this is for naught — and viewing conditions don’t stay the same? What if local TV station viewership keeps declining, and there is more fractionalization vs. other digital media, so the positive aspect of its “scale” is diminished?

Separately, what becomes of younger TV viewers with less interest in traditional TV? Where does that leave TV stations’ network partners? Big media company/network groups could just accelerate the pursuit of network-specific digital platforms — live, linear services and/or on-demand TV/video sites.  

Finally, it seems the “screen” is king, rather than the “content.” In that vein, TV networks should get into the TV set manufacturer business —something they did at the dawn of the TV age, about 80 years ago.

After all, TV networks always talk about building “direct-to-consumer” businesses. Now, they can really mean it.

2 comments about "Want Local TV In Future? Get A New Set!".
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  1. Jim Meskauskas from Media Darwin, Inc., November 20, 2017 at 5:11 p.m.

    The average household buys a new TV every 9 years, according to someone I interviewed at Sony two years ago. What this means is that local TV will instead end up unwatched in general.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 20, 2017 at 6:09 p.m.

    Jim, almost anywhere the broadcast networks go with the "skinny bundles" they are associated with, their affiliates go with them, taking their local programs---mainly news---with them. It doesn't matter how many years the average TV home goes between buying a new TV set. As for viewing, if you check Nielsen's latest rundown on news, local news---by virtue of its extent---early AM, Noon, early and late evening-----is viewed to a greater extent than broadcast and/or cable news. Add to that the syndicated shows that the stations air plus local sports and you have quite a bit of viewing tonnage. Spot TV's battle is mainly with other local media---radio and newspapers---the latter not faring well anymore---plus local digital media and this is where the stations have lagged behind---they have not developed their own websites properly nor monetized them effectively. This may change, however. It's way too soon the think of local TV as "dying".

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