Analysis from the TVB, the local TV advertising trade group, is touting rising young viewership for all local TV newscasts — all something to cheer about when mulling future TV users.
The first two weeks of March witnessed 52% and 84% higher 18-34 impressions for all Monday to Friday local TV news in the top 25 markets -- to 4.22 million for Nielsen live program and 4.85 for live program plus-same-day impressions, respectively. That's versus the same two-week period a year ago.
Just looking at evening news for the same period and markets, there are even better results — up 67% (2.4 million) and 106% higher (2.7 million) impressions for the first two weeks of March
But what happens six, eight, or 10 months from now after COVID-19 issues lessen -- and restaurants, movie and retail businesses, where young millennials work or frequent, re-open?
At that time, local TV newscasts would need to redefine what kind of news content -- as well as how it is presented and structured -- can sustain those viewers.
Here’s why: We know millennials continue to gravitate to news consumption from many digital sites -- especially social media. That happens despite widespread public awareness that news via social media might offer iffy, if not downright false, news.
Not saying this is a blueprint. But consider how Vice News handles its content on traditional cable TV networks. Are younger presenters and reporters (sans the requisite shirt and ties and other staid news-wear) perhaps a better, more accessible choice?
Content? Perhaps that could be altered, as well. But that may have more to do with attitude and accessibility.
We know how important senior TV news viewers are to TV advertisers -- 25-54s, as well as older viewers groups. Are there lessons to be learned -- any positive stuff -- from digital media sites/video platforms that can be adapted to local TV stations newscasts?
Higher viewing among younger demos for local TV news content shouldn’t just be pegged to a major once-in-a-lifetime crisis.