TV stations are behind when it comes to competing with local digital media competitors -- and there are two primary reasons: lack of investment and unfamiliarity in a different competitive space.
With only 5% of a TV stations' overall revenues coming from digital media, Pat LaPlatney, president/CEO of Raycom Media, put it simply at an NAB panel: “As an industry, I would say we’re behind where we should be, and it probably reflects a lack of investment.”
But other executives believe it is the culture.
On the same panel, Adam Symson, president/CEO of E.W. Scripps Co., said: “Broadcasting has traditionally been a very protected business — protected by regulation and economically protected because not everybody could have a television station in a market.”
With digital media, it's a different story. A company can have as many local media platforms as the marketplace will bear. Free capitalization at work.
Now, the good news: TV stations have strong brand awareness in local markets. This is a big plus when it comes to extending that brand into the digital space. But it might not be enough.
Hubris? Local TV stations have weathered much from digital media. They still thrive. So why change? Plus, they seem to to have always been in a better position than many local newspapers -- even with print efforts to morph into digital media.
This is not to say that many big local TV station groups are just sitting around. They are investing in new technology -- programmatic ad platforms, OTT ad-selling businesses, among other areas.
But there must be more -- and better -- integration with linear TV. All that can be harder -- in terms of pricing, audience metrics, engagement and other areas.
Just think about what national TV networks are going through when it comes to offering a single audience metric, across all screens, for big national brands to buy. That continues to be a difficult task.
Doing this effort locally? It will be much harder. And more digital investment money will need to be involved.