Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 

BREAKING NEWS: Multi-Level Paradigm Shift for TV News!

By Kevin Osgood
Direct2Pod


I've thought a lot about the uses of these new technologies announced this week (Apple TV & Netgear). Especially today when I was on the road visiting a small rural Tennessee station. Somewhere near Chattanooga it struck me - This new technology changes everything!

It's a paradigm shift on a couple levels for all of broadcast news!

First this will change the way people watch TV in that they can tell their computer to go and download everything they want to watch. When viewers come home - they fire up the PC or Apple and organize the shows in the order they want and hit start.. BAM - it's off to the TV for playback!

Image getting only what you want - when you want it - even your news. EVEN YOUR NEWS.

Great! Television broadcasters have been putting stuff on their web sites for years now so what's the big deal? How may television web sites have pod-casts set up? The answer is easy- FEW!

We'll call these people "New TV" users (formerly viewers).

So there is shift number one. How these New TV users will watch.

Shift number two takes television news to task fast. For years we've been asking stations to push new, exclusive or 'web only' video to pod-casts. But when you consider how these New TV users will utilize this new technology (Apple TV & Netgear) that material 'does not a newscast make'!

To meet the demands of New TV users stations must create short, concise, thorough mini-newscasts and post them as pod-casts. It has to be something that can easily be updated several times a day as news warrants.

Don't even think of including weather and sports in that mini-newscast - give weather and sports their own pod-cast! It opens up another potential sponsorship and gives the New TV user yet another choice.

Now and in the future it is all about choice. News organizations that embrace these paradigm shifts will be meeting the needs of New TV users and if you meet the needs of the viewer, they'll watch - and you'll win.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

 

January 9, 2007

The visual revolution is well underway and even if your news web site has video you are at risk of being left behind by the demographic you most want.

Take a look at what Apple and Netgear have announced recently. The home television and the home computer are now linked and will likely be that way for decades to come.

The channels of a home television set are losing relevancy daily. Now people can choose what they want to watch and when they want to watch it – period.

Sure people will want to stay informed, so as this technology takes hold they’ll seek out compatible news operations not for the content they offer, but for the ease of use and compatibility with their home systems.

That’s why we created Direct2Pod, to manage and distribute video pod casts. Broadcast journalists were involved at every step of the development of Direct2Pod. They had to be if we wanted it to be something that could mesh perfectly into the workflow of a busy overworked and understaffed newsroom.

Direct2Pod provides a way for your news product to truly become interactive with the viewers and users of today and tomorrow. Being on the cutting edge for your viewers will enhance your credibility and position your news product as the ‘leader’ for years to come.

As I said, we have talked with a lot of broadcast journalists before and during development of Direct2Pod. It is designed to grow and help them meet potential changes in user demands. We’ll be there every step of the way for our clients. Once on board with us, we’re partners in growing the system to be even better.

Our product is leased by our clients for a monthly fee and we’ve set up D2P’s pricing in such a way that even smaller television stations and newspapers can easily turn a profit on pod casting in the first year.

The D2P System Launch Special is now underway. Discounts and special start-up arrangements that can save you more - even from our regular low price.

This discount applies to contracts signed before March 2, 2007.

If you’re interested in learning more visit direct2pod.com and take a closer look.

Or, please feel free to give me a call - I'll be happy to tell you all about D2P and our Launch Special.

Kevin Osgood

256.704.7700 x.126


Saturday, January 06, 2007

 

One Year into the Future!

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog. It may have taken this long to take things from conversation to invention. A year later Direct2Pod exists and version II is in the marketplace.

A year from now where will we be?

Right in the middle of the technology revolution - I'm guessing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

 

Where are the Video Pod Casts Going?

Of the nine television news operations that were doing video pod casts six months ago - only three are still cranking out video pod casts and of those, not all are doing it daily.
I think I may know why and it all boils down to time.
Who has time to move the video around to the right place and get it ingested into a system where someone can then post it to the web site? With the demands on time in a television newsroom I can see where some would just toss the video pod cast without much thought.

But wait.
I have two reasons you need to consider for delivering video pod casts now. First, your future is in getting unique video to the hand-held devices your viewers are buying and using.

Second, if it takes too much time to move video around to where it can become a pod cast - then you need to seriously look at Direct2Pod. We've automated much of the process and you can assign some non-traditional news people to the few remaining steps.
Doing this means you create a reputation for your news product among your local users as the place to get local news content.

How valuable is that to you?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

 

Direct2Pod is Live for WHNT TV

WHNT TV in Huntsville Alabama is the first station to utilize Direct2Pod for video pod casting.

WHNT is owned and operated by the New York Times Company. News that the broadcast group is for sale didn't dampen the spirit of the launch. The entire NYT broadcast group is watching how D2P performs in Huntsville and I am confident it'll exceed their expectations.

We presented the system several months ago and worked with WHNT to adapt it to their work-flow needs. We had some bumps in the he road but we have a very functional system in place that allows the station to easily post downloadable video to their web site.

WHNT elected not to utilize Direct2Pod's flash video player because of their contractual agreement with their web site provider (WN).

The station's internet content manager told me, "It's great, it's easy to use and we're starting to post all kinds of content."

I have to thank WHNT for going through the initial portion of tweaking D2P to get it ready to work - but it's ready and performing well and here's the best part. Our development team is allready working on the next generation Direct2Pod system.

Here's the link to WHNT's pod cast page by Direct2Pod.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

 

Are Pre-roll Ads Killing your News Web Site?

By Graeme Newell
gnewell@602communications.com

When new technology comes on the scene, the new products often look and act like the old ones. For example, the first cars had the same form as horse-drawn carriages. The first refrigerators looked like old-fashioned ice boxes. As new technology is introduced, we need the comforting forms of the more familiar predecessor to ease us through the transition.

The same has been true in the news business. When radio was introduced, many of the first broadcasts consisted of announcers reading the paper over the airways. Many of you veteran television folks may remember "slides" from the bygone days of broadcasting. A 35mm slide was put on the screen while the announcer talked about the program. In effect, this was radio on TV. You would never see this kind of thing today. TV is about moving video and it took the better part of three decades before the industry finally stepped into its own and got rid of video slides.

Unfortunately, the same thing is happening now as we make the transition from broadcast TV to streaming video over the internet. We are still following the basic format and tone of TV despite the fact that the internet has groundbreaking features to radically change the experience. It is just more comforting for us to do TV on the internet than to make full use of the internet's opportunities.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the TV web site advertising world. Most all of the broadcast groups make money on streaming media content through "pre-roll" ads. We require the viewer to sit through an ad before rewarding them with a news story. Typically, these ads will be identical to a broadcast ad, despite the fact that the two different media call for radically different advertising strategies.

Detailed ads don't work
On television, every second is incredibly valuable. This means that detailed ads that lay out explanations of features just don't work. There just isn't time to explain anything in detail. Traditionally, advertisers who wanted to convey detailed ad information looked to newspapers or magazines. A car dealer could list the price of every vehicle on the lot. TV was meant to exclaim - newspapers to explain. Still, the price of newspaper advertising was very high. Then, along came the internet, offering detailed product information at no extra cost. Every scrap of product minutia could be posted to the site with no increase in expense.

Web site pre-roll ads ignore the awesome potential for detailed web site information. The sole goal of a pre-roll ad should be to get you to click on the links below the ad. That means all your pre-roll ads should feature detailed advertiser links immediately under the video window.

The problem is that most stations still see the ad as a part of the video clip, rather than an integrated part of the web page. We are comfortable with the familiar model of ads and content appearing together because that's the way we've always presented our stories on the evening news. Video ads that are directly linked to specific web clicks are less familiar.

A typical pre-roll ad for a car dealer will make very general product claims. "Come down to Billy Bob's Chevy Barn for the Valley's widest selection of Chevy trucks." Instead, the ad should directly reference the web links surrounding the video box. "Click on the link below this box to see detailed info on every Chevy truck we have on the lot right now. Plus, see a side-by-side comparison of Ford and Chevy trucks in every class." Below the video box will be a link for every class of truck: compact, midsize, full-size, etc.

When we traffic web ads, the links on the web site are typically quite random. Sure, we may put a client's banner ad somewhere on the same page, but it rarely works in tandem with the pre-roll ad. Our traffic systems for web video need to be dramatically redesigned to allow direct integration of pre-roll video and the rest of the links on the web page. Many non-broadcast web sites have stepped into this technique and are getting dramatic results. Those of us in the broadcast world are having a harder time because we're comfortable with the old broadcast model. The power of pre-roll ads comes from video's ability to get attention combined with a web link's ability to provide specific product detail. The two must be seamlessly designed, trafficked and delivered to motivate action.

If we hope to make our web sites effective, we need to deliver results for our clients. It is no longer enough just to re-rack the broadcast ad on the web site. TV sales people need to work with clients helping them to design and create specific web ads that fulfill the full potential of the internet's ability to deliver specific information. This will have two big effects:

Pre-roll ads can be shorter and less annoying
If the sole goal of a pre-roll ad is to motivate a click, the ads no longer need to contain product detail. We'll let the link do that. Those interested in the product will get a full meal of information with just a click. Those who aren't interested in the product will not be forced to sit through a long dissertation of product attributes that just waste their time.

Repetitive pre-roll ads can go away
Research tells us that one of the biggest complaints with pre-roll ads is repetition. If I go to a TV web site and watch ten or twelve stories, I may see the exact same ad so many times that I'm ready to get a gun. At this point the web site experience becomes so bad that viewers are actively driven away. Once web site trafficking systems get better, we can design the ad experience for each specific customer.

How long is too long on a pre-roll ad? New research indicates that 15 seconds is the magic number. Anything past that number and you might as well have a three minute pre-roll ad. You're going to lose them. One thing that really helps retain viewers - have a countdown indicator so the viewer knows exactly how long the ad will last. This can be done with an hour glass or with a progress bar under the screen.

... To watch the video presentation click here.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

 

Direct2Pod is About to Premier!

A CBS station in a mid size market will be the first to utilize Direct2Pod. It'll go on line very soon.
Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

 

Internet Users Ahead of Broadcasters on Election Night

By David BauderASSOCIATED PRESS

Election night 2006 will go into history books as a triumph for Democrats and rebuke to President Bush. It was a watershed evening for the news media, too.

The first smoothly run election night of the Internet era left many news organizations unsure of where they stood and should prompt some rethinking in time for 2008, according to a detailed new report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The journalism think tank monitored several forms of media that night and concluded the best place to follow the story was on Web sites run by television networks - as opposed to the networks themselves.

Because of the richly detailed Web sites, fed by both results and exit poll data gathered by the networks and The Associated Press, Internet browsers frequently were more up-to-date than the anchors and pundits on the air, said Tom Rosenstiel, the project's director.

CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC offered wall-to-wall coverage on TV that night. To a large extent, the networks - particularly CNN - see elections as an opportunity to show off their biggest names, but the slow pace of results this year frequently left them with little to say or do, Rosenstiel said.

"Showcasing talent may not always be the best way of telling the story," he said.
The cable networks should spend less time on pointless talk and more time with reporters, and could even supplement coverage during quieter times with prepared reports on the personalities and issues, he said.

"If they wanted to tell the story of the election rather than put on a live television show, they could have had a much richer profile," he said.

That's unlikely, since when a prepared report appears "you're going to say to yourself, `I'm going to go to the other channel and find out what's going on,'" said Bill Wheatley, a former NBC News executive who produced three separate election nights for the network.

CBS and NBC spent an hour of prime-time on the election, 90 minutes on ABC. The compressed time and smaller news staffs made anchors Katie Couric on CBS, Charles Gibson on ABC and Brian Williams on NBC even more central to their broadcasts, the project's report said.
"Their shows didn't really differ that much from what you could see on cable," Rosenstiel said. "They differed in length."

Broadcasters have frequently been criticized for cutting back on time spent on the air during some elections and political conventions. With the cable networks taking those hours, broadcasters might be better served trying to reach the nonpolitical junkies on election night by focusing on personalities and broad themes, he said.

"Even for the political junkies, sometimes the information is only part of it," Wheatley said. "They do want to get the analysis. They do want to hear what Tim Russert says." But keeping a broader perspective might be wise, he said. "Every election night is different," said Wheatley, who has done some consulting work for the AP since retiring from NBC, although not on election coverage. "The most important thing is who is winning and what does it mean. ... You have the resources to change on a dime."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

 

The World is Getting Smaller

If you are reading this page you know that. Technology makes it that way. But I'm here to tell you today - that traveling to Dhaka, Bangladesh and back in a weeks time is enough to make you set up a video conference call next time!

The partnership is a done deal.

2007 is going to be an exciting year at Direct2Pod.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

Big Things in The Works for D2P

We may be a small operation based in little old Huntsville, Alabama but we've made a big connection with our development of online video systems for the news media.

We've attracted the attention of a company based well outside the U.S. and they are very interested in utilizing Direct2Pod in their future projects.

This company sets up regional and national broadcast news networks. They are also looking at setting up an international channel similar to CNN sometime in 2007.

We'll keep you posted on our team effort.

For now I'll tell you this, we're working together on a project for a national 24-hour a day cable news network in Bangladesh.

In-fact, I leave tomorrow for Dhaka!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

 

You Tube, a Threat and a Tool for the Media

By Yuki Noguchi and Sara Kehaulani GooWashington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Media companies are of two minds about Internet video-sharing site YouTube, which rocketed to fame by letting users share homemade videos along with copyrighted clips from movies, TV shows and music videos.
They are unsure of whether YouTube is a friend or a foe -- a threat that could siphon off their TV audiences and ad dollars or a powerful promotion machine that could generate buzz for the shows. While users have had virtually unfettered freedom to post and watch whatever clips they want, big media companies are starting to reassert control by seeking removal of some shows.

Read it all here...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

 

Valuable Insight for the Future - from RTNDA

Written by Chip Mahaney at the RTNDA technology event in New York:

One of the biggest challenges (and opportunities too) for traditional news organizations is going from a linear (newscast) mindset to a mindset that’s totally non-linear.

The final session of the day featured digital news executives from ABC, CBS, CNN and FOX talking about the challenges their organizations are facing in a world that no longer relies on television for the bulk of its news, and what strategies they’re counting on to grow their brand in the years ahead.

Click here for the entire discussion.

Monday, October 02, 2006

 

Blog Breaks Story for ABC News

A post on Brian Ross’ blog on ABCNews.com got the ball rolling on the email investigation surrounding now former Congressman Mark Foley, said Howard Kurtz on CNN’s Reliable Sources.

The post about an email to a 16-year-old page resulted in Ross receiving far more sexually explicit messages, which lead to a story on air. Goes to show that blogs can be a powerful tool for news organizations.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

 

TV to Lose $7-Billion by 2011

From Lost Remote:

JupiterResearch predicts that broadcast and cable TV will pick up $5 billion in revenue from new ad platforms by 2011. That’s the good news. The bad news is TV will lose $12 billion in traditional revenue over the same period, thanks to ad-skipping and other disruptive technologies. “We advise media planners not to cave in to TV and Nielsen’s talk about new live-plus ratings. If stuff is time-shifted, a lot of the ads will definitely be skipped,” says Jupiter VP David Card. Ah, finally someone who’s not fooled by the fuzzy math the network research gurus are spinning. (Via Pomo Blog)

For the story click here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

 

Online opportunities for small-market stations

Participants at last week's NAB Small Market TV Exchange conference in San Diego explored the challenges and opportunities facing small-market broadcasters. The top issues under discussion were retransmission consent fees, digital multicasting and extending into online platforms. TVNEWSDAY (free registration) (9/18)
Posted from NAB Smart Brief

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

AT&T to launch web TV service

By Paul Taylor in New York

Financial Times.Com - September 12 2006

AT&T, the biggest US telecommunications group, is to launch an internet TV service that will enable subscribers to view a selection of live and streamed TV channels on their PC over any wired or wireless broadband connection for $20 a month.

The browser-based service, dubbed AT&T Broadband, will be announced on Tuesday and will be the first of its kind in the US. The US carrier has teamed up with MobiTV, the fast growing California-based mobile TV content aggregator, to deliver the service.

“The AT&T Broadband TV service is part of our ‘three screen’ [phone, PC and TV] initiative,” said Doug York, AT&T’s senior vice-president of programming. “It will enable our customers to watch live television programming beyond the TV screen, on a PC when and where they want.”

The launch comes amid an explosion of internet-based video content services including user-generated video sites such as YouTube and Google Video, and TV and movie download services including Amazon’s Unbox, launched last week.

Apple Computer is also on Tuesday expected to announce an iTunes movie download service and already offers iPod users clips of popular TV shows. But the AT&T service goes a step further by offering live programming available at the same time as it is broadcast, or carried over cable and satellite services to PC users.

The big US telecoms groups have also been rolling out mobile TV services to 3G subscribers. According to figures released on Monday by Telephia, a communications and new media research firm, the US mobile TV audience grew by 45 per cent to 3.7m subscribers in the second quarter, and mobile TV revenues grew to $86m, up 67 per cent over the first quarter of this year.

The AT&T Broadband TV service will initially have approximately 20 channels of live and made-for-broadband television content spanning national news, sports, entertainment and full-length music videos.


 

Old media increase share of online ads

From the Financial Times
By Aline van Duyn in New York

September 12 2006


Traditional US media companies are increasing their share of the fast-growing online advertising sector relative to internet rivals such as Google and Yahoo, according to a new study.

In one of the first detailed reports of the relative positions of traditional media companies and their online competitors, Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the private equity group, has shown that, contrary to many people’s expectations, media companies are holding their own in the digital space.

VSS will report on Tuesday in its annual comprehensive study of the media business that this year, of the $22bn expected to be spent on online and mobile advertising in the US, traditional media groups’ share is forecast to be 37 per cent, up from 23 per cent in 2000.

By 2010, when internet and mobile advertising is due to reach $44bn, traditional media companies are expected to capture $17bn, or nearly 39 per cent, of the total.

James Rutherford, managing director at VSS, said: “There has been a lot of handwringing about media companies not making any money in the online world but what the data show is that their position is better than we would have assumed. Traditional media firms have worked hard at finding ways to extend their reach online, and this is paying off.”

Media companies such as Time Warner, News Corp, General Electric’s NBC Universal, CBS, Viacom and Walt Disney as well as newspaper groups such as The New York Times and Dow Jones are all making digital expansion a priority.

High-speed internet connections have made possible use of the web as a real alternative source of information and entertainment. In addition, widespread use of social networking sites such as MySpace has increased the time younger people especially spend online. YouTube, a video-sharing site, has become a top online destinations in less than 18 months.

To read the rest click here to go the Financial Times.






Tuesday, August 01, 2006

 

Fox Takes Action to Lead Online News & Entertainment

News Corporation today announced the formation of Fox Interactive Media (FIM), a new unit that will leverage the strength of Fox’s distinctive entertainment, news and sports brands across the Internet to offer a richer online experience to its millions of users.
Read the entire article here at NewsCorp.com

Friday, July 28, 2006

 

BBC Takes to Video Pod casts

From the BBC


You can now watch a weekly video podcast - or vodcast - of the BBC's Ten O'clock News.

The latest service adds to the ways you can now access BBC News programmes.

The video podcast will be in addition to the other new services including a TV news summary which you'll be able to download to your mobile phone (if the phone is video-capable).

The new service, called The Ten Weekly, will have the best of the week's Ten O'clock news reports. Other video podcasts which are sometimes known as vodcasts - available include a service from Newsnight.

Read More about it here.

Link to BBC Video Pod cast Page


Thursday, July 06, 2006

 

ESPN has Winning Idea! My -sports- Space!


ESPN is looking to capitalize on the 'MySpace' type profile sites and create a site where sports fans can create their own online pages and identities.

This is a great idea. It ties in television (barely) and makes the most of the passion-dedicated sports fans have. After all these folks will buy cars and paint houses the colors of their favorite teams. They'll dress silly and act like nuts, all in the name of backing 'their' team.

It's a no-brainer that this will be huge.

Huge kudos to the person who thought of this at ESPN.


Read more here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

 

The Future is Embraced at KCRA

This is from the Sacremento Bee newspaper:

Local TV news stations caught up in the Web race
By Sam McManis

At the stroke of noon last Friday, viewers wanting to catch Channel 3's midday newscast instead saw on their TV screens men in brightly colored shirts and slacks hitting golf balls.

Yes, the second round of the U.S. Open had pre-empted the news -- on TV, at least.

But that didn't mean newscaster Walt Gray was free to hit the links himself. There he sat at the "KCRA Experience" anchor desk at Arden Fair mall, flanked by meteorologist Dirk Verdoorn, delivering the news to an Internet-only audience on the station's Web site.

The opening banter:

Gray: "We're broadcasting live from noon to 1 today exclusively on the dot-com."

Verdoorn: "And I'm in for Eileen (Javora), and I'm feeling rather digital right now, Walt."

Gray: "Good to know."

This was a new experience at the "KCRA Experience." Channel 3 had been airing streaming video of its noon news for nearly a month, but last week was the first time in memory a local TV newscast aired sans the TV.

It most assuredly won't be the last, though. These days, the most important innovation in local news coverage has little to do with TV. Rather, the Web has become the new battleground for content, advertising dollars and scoops.

The competition is not just among local TV stations. The Bee's Web site, sacbee.com, began podcasting last August, introduced a continuous news desk in January, hosts Web chats with political columnist Dan Walters and this week launched 21Q, an entertainment blog. Several radio stations, including KFBK (1530 AM) and KXJZ (88.9 FM), offer podcasts of midday shows.
KCRA's move made sense, station president Elliott Troshinsky says, if you consulted the viewership chart from 2005 that he keeps on his desk. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., more viewers view the station's Web site than the TV station.

Among local television stations, Channel 3 may be making the biggest Web push -- in addition to streaming its noon news live on the Web, KCRA is running four stand-alone webcasts throughout the day -- but it's not alone.

News10 is offering video news and weather updates several times daily to cell phone users, for a monthly fee. Since the fall, it has aired traffic webcasts with reporter Julie Durda. Channel 13 has run live, unedited and non-narrated streaming video of news conferences, such as a Modesto Police Department briefing on gang arrests last week.

All three stations -- plus Channel 31's morning show, "Good Day Sacramento" -- post video news and feature reports, in addition to hourly text updates on stories that broke earlier in the day.

The Web competition is becoming so fierce that stations have aired reports on the Web first, TV second -- essentially scooping themselves on big stories. "We don't see it as scooping ourselves," says Stacy Owen, News10's news director. "We're an information provider, and people's expectations are different now. People want things immediately, five minutes ago.

"We've seen it happen where we've broken a story online and other stations have picked it up for their (TV) broadcasts. But if you're too worried about the competition, you're ultimately not servicing your viewers and users."

What is prompting this shift in news-gathering priorities?

Simple: Increasingly, the Web is where the eyeballs -- and advertising dollars -- are.

Local TV stations are facing the same challenges that newspapers face: declining viewership and revenue due to the growth of the Internet as a news source.

In March, a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that upward of 50?million people in the United States use the Internet daily as their primary news source. And a survey released in early June by Ball State University's Center for Media Design showed that the Web has overtaken TV as the dominant news medium during working hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

As a result, local TV stations' revenue fell 9?percent in 2005, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising. The Wall Street Journal reports that the auto industry, traditionally a staple of local TV advertising, cut its local TV ad budget by 15?percent and turned to the Web.

In addition, networks have started bypassing local stations and distributing prime-time programs directly to the consumer via video podcasts or Web links.

At Channel 3, however, ad revenue is up this year, according to Troshinsky, because of the push to expand online content among stations owned by Hearst-Argyle. "It's not a fad," Troshinsky says. "It's a paradigm change. Advertisers and viewers -- or users -- are looking for compelling content when they want it, where they want it."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 

Act Now and Survive!

Do you ever find yourself wondering what Edward R. Murrow would think about how our industry has evolved since his trailblazing days? What I hear most often is that it used to be about the news but now it's about getting ratings or saving money.
Well, I hate to break the news to folks, but the reason journalists were set free on TV to start with was probably because someone somewhere had this thought: "Someday, not today but someday, this venture will generate revenue."

Sounds strangely familiar to anyone who was involved with web site development a decade ago or anyone who's talking about podcasting today.
I talk to news directors and general managers all over the country and they all say the same thing: "Podcasts are nice but if we can't get people to download them, they're not worth the investment in time or money." ("Someday, not today but someday, this venture will generate revenue.")

While some news directors and general managers believe that pod casts aren't worth the investment, entertainment is delivering a highly desired product to our target demographic, giving them movies, advance looks at entire TV episodes, and music. It adds up to a multi-billion dollar industry for "entertainment. "

Local TV news has a niche that will never go away. You are the place for local images of the news of the day. The challenge now is to deliver those highly desired images to places where people will watch. Websites and i-Pod type devices are the place for local news in the future.
Many TV stations have been creating audio pod casts for a while now. The downloads are few - it really turned out to be a great way for radio stations to tap into their product - but that's a whole other article.

Now technology has delivered into the people's hands a video i-Pod device. They can sign up to get updated, oops, almost said "news and entertainment" but there's not much news to get out there. Why is that?

Local TV holds its own future in its barely staffed on line news team. Only the Fox owned stations seem to get it. Others are going to have to respond quickly or your local Fox news will own the web in your local market like Idol owns the airwaves.

So, what does a local TV station need to do?

First, accept the fact that your on line news product is just as important as your on air product. Second, if it's just as important, then treat it like it is! Dedicate more than one person to it. Your local Fox owned news station is dedicating at least three, sometimes more.

So, break stories on the web! Put exclusive tape on the web! Be aggressive with your on line coverage. If you can make that happen, then you can capitalize on and succeed with video pod casting.

The only way to win with this new technology is to put visual content there that your viewers will find no place else. It has to be an "online exclusive" if you want people to watch. I hear the chorus from newsrooms everywhere now: "We don't have the people or the time to do that." Sorry to say, yes you do.

Make the time to find the technology - we developed some here at Inergi - to create your video pod casts. Once you have the technology in place, someone has to take the time to put the entire interview with the victim's mother or some other gripping interview or video on line. After all, you can't show the whole thing on the air; there's not enough time. But online you have all the time in the world to tell stories! Take advantage of that. You'll own the online audience, and someday soon it'll be a revenue generating venture.

The only question is whether your news product will be championed as the local news of the future... Or will it be your competition?

A whole lot of revenue (and thus jobs) depend on decisions and actions your team makes now. After all, I don't see many stations still doing the news like Mr. Murrow did.

By Kevin Osgood, 'Direct2Pod' April 5, 2005

 

"Hatcam" is Way of the Future

From the Washintonian Online

Shortly after Steve Coll became managing editor of the Washington Post in 1998, he wrote a memo about the coming marriage of print and Internet journalism. He said that future reporters would be outfitted with video cameras, which could be attached to their hats, almost like the little press cards stuck in fedoras back in the old days.

In the newsroom, reporters laughed and called the futuristic reporting device “hatcam.”

No one’s laughing now: The Post is shipping digital video cameras to its bureaus. Post reporters are expected to report in multimedia.

Read the entire story here.


 

25 Stations Launch Streaming Video on Cell Phones

From MediaWeek.com

Local news video is coming to mobile phones for the first time. A group of 25 TV stations, including 16 owned-and-operated CBS stations in top markets, and WRAL, Capitol Broadcasting Corp.’s CBS affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., have begun to offer video newscasts on phones through a new service called My Local TV. Created by CBC’s News Over Wireless unit, the service is available to Sprint Power Vision subscribers at $4.95 a month.


Read the entire story here

 

Our Industry is Changing Forever!

From Washington Post.com


Some news organizations surely will die as the Internet disrupts and remakes the century-plus-old newspaper and half-century-old television industries. But overlooked in this massive transformation are some underlying insights that should give pause to those who would put a gravestone on the mainstream media.

News consumption has fractured and fragmented in the United States over the past 30 years, but the demand for news is strong. Network morning, evening and news magazine shows, cable news and public broadcasting audiences, combined with the explosion of growth in the digital media, are bathing consumers in more news and information than ever before.

While it's true that fewer newspapers roll off the presses than a generation ago, that only half as many people watch the nightly network news as did 25 years ago, and that news magazines do not carry the authority of the past, new sources of news abound. The Internet has largely replaced the immediacy of radio and television for breaking news.

Read the entire story here

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

 

Nielsen to Follow the Video Beyond Television

From Lost Remote.com

Nielsen announced today (6/14) it will "follow the video" beyond television to computers, cell phones, iPods and other devices. (Actually, the press release says Nielsen will measure "the new ways consumers are watching television" -- which makes me wonder if they realize that it's really video, not television.)

The new effort, called Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement or A2/M2, will track streaming video consumption and even measure viewing on video iPods.

Nielsen also promises to merge internet statistics with people meter TV ratings. "As more and more streaming video content, including traditional television programming, becomes available online, content providers need to measure this viewing and understands how it complements their traditional television programming," reads the press release.

Finally, a headline announcement for TV folks: Nielsen promises to abolish all handwritten diaries in all markets by 2011.

Of course, all these goals are very noble, but as everyone knows, measuring new forms of media consumption is always a very challenging affair. So stay tuned...

Posted on Lost Remote by Cory Bergman on 06/14/06

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 

The Salvation of Newspapers: Online Local News Networks?

By Randall Rothenberg
Published: June 04, 2006

The onslaught of interactive technologies has persuaded many -- especially those in broadcast media desperate to retain their fragmenting audience -- to adopt the refrain "How low can you go?" But another mantra is being whispered in Internet circles: "How local can you go?" Take heed, for this maxim could herald the renaissance of the medium believed most threatened by the Web: newspapers.

National adsDotConnect Media is one of several companies attempting to transition newspapers to the Internet. It is a network of more than 1,500 newspaper Web sites rolled up from several acquisitions and purchased in March by Lee Enterprises, now the nation's fourth-largest owner of daily newspapers.

Its goal is to create a national advertising medium out of inherently local products. "Broadcast media always had the advantage, because they could communicate instantaneously to a national marketplace," said David Teitler, DotConnect's president and a newspaper-network fantasist since the mid-1990s, when he worked on the problem at the National Newspaper Network, the industry trade group. "Yet people trust newspapers. That's newspapers' killer app.

Everyone from Procter to GM wants to get local, because that's where the sales take place." Mr. Teitler's faith might seem suicidally counterintuitive.

Conventional wisdom is that newspapers' financial base is eroding. Monster.com took employment classifieds. Craigslist is taking real-estate ads.

First news networkBut history is on the side of newspapers, which in fact were the first network. As related by Princeton sociologist Paul Starr in his brilliant book, "The Creation of the Media," U.S. newspaper companies were networking among each other in the late 18th century, taking advantage of constitutional provisions that allowed them to mail papers to each other free.

Thus they borrowed content to fill pages that were made available to advertisers eager to reach the burgeoning continental marketplace. Come the 20th century, broadcasting trumped newsprint's content networks and fashioned actual, national ad networks.

But with a new century emerges a new technology that (as noted previously in this space) reduces the native costs of both content creation and distribution to zero.

All media companies now are asking where true competitive advantage lies.

To DotConnect, there's a simple answer: local news, local guidance, local advertising -- and, oh, national ads, delivered more locally than anyone ever imagined, in a format that merges video, audio, text and conversation.

Newspapers weren't able to realize the full power of their brands because they were so different from each other: different sizes, different pricing regimens, different color capabilities, different demographics. "There was no real way," said Mr. Teitler, who also has worked at Newsweek, Conde Nast and the National Enquirer, "to bridge the location gap."

Among incumbent media, newspaper companies have been Internet leaders, developing state-of-the-art Web sites even in the dial-up days. With broadband, many are well-positioned to conquer local TV stations in the interactive arena.

Read the rest at Advertising Age

 

Study: Web is the No. 1 media

Web media is the dominant at-work media and No. 2 in the home, according to a new report from the Online Publishers Association.

The Web also ranked as the No. 1 daytime media.

A research project, conducted by Ball State University's Center for Media Design, tracked the media use of 350 people every 15 seconds. The subjects represented each gender, about equally, across three age groups: 18 to 34, 35 to 49 and 50-plus. The people were monitored by another person for approximately 13 hours, or 80 percent of their waking day.

"Someone actually came into their homes and workplaces and had a handheld computer, every 15 seconds registering their media consumption and life activities," Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association (OPA), told CNET News.com.

According to Horan, this is the first type of study of its kind. Previously, consumers were monitored for media usage by phone survey or diary method.

Not surprisingly, newspaper use peaked in the morning; that print media was consumed by 17 percent of the subjects between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. When this media was combined with Web consumption, the potential reach for advertisers climbed to 44 percent. During the same morning period, the number of consumers using magazines jumped from 7 percent to 39 percent, and from 44 percent to 62 percent for television.

"The point is that there is an incremental reach that someone can gain by putting together a multimedia campaign," Horan said.

A conservative estimate from the study says 17 percent of overall media is consumed via the Internet, and Horan notes that other researchers like Forrester have placed that number even higher.

The OPA-commissioned study also used census data to determine the spending habits of its 350 monitored subjects. Web dominant consumers' retail spending averaged $26,450, while the TV-dominant group's spending averaged $21,401.

Yet, studies have shown that only about 8 percent of advertising goes to the Internet, Horan said. "I hear more and more from marketers that they have shifted their business to be more responsive and realign. There is an active movement by traditional advertisers to be able to explore platform strategies," Horan said. She believes that research studies are attracting the attention of advertisers and media buyers and may result in a faster shift in advertising dollars to match the actual statistics of consumer media usage.

More from cNet News and the NY Times

 

TV networks change channels to the Web

By Joanne Ostrow
DENVER POST

Last millennium, teens watched television's "AfterSchool Specials." Today, young audiences head to the computer after school, send instant messages to each other, forward favorite video clips and watch an increasing amount of entertainment at desks and on laptops.

Chasing them is an urgent preoccupation at the traditional television networks. In what could be the biggest cultural sea change since the introduction of cable TV, America's television executives are pushing beyond the tube, pursuing viewers through the Internet. No longer an experiment, the streaming of video entertainment has arrived.

With the click of a mouse, more material - highlights, short clips and extras surrounding fan favorites - is becoming available around the clock. And it's free. On CBS's new innertube Web channel, accessible through the cbs.com website, Pearl Jam's webcast concert was restreamed following an appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman." MTV's popular "TRL" and the Video Music Awards are streaming simultaneous live feeds on TV and MTV Overdrive, a broadband channel, streamed via the Internet.

The broadcasting business is now about multiple screens - "platforms" in insider argot.
"Multiplatform will be the watchword at the upfronts," said Will Richmond, president of consulting group Broadband Directions, referring to the annual rite of spring when the networks use elaborate presentations to presell commercial time to advertisers before the fall TV season.
When the dog-and-pony shows start today in New York, the shift will be evident. All the broadcasters are expected to make websites a highlight of their presentations.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be diverted from network TV to Internet advertising. While that's a small fraction of the total $18 billion upfront advertising pie, the shift is stealing a bit of the limelight from old-school media.

MTV's Brian Graden sums up the Internet's importance: "There's no doubt that our end of the demographic lives there. You have a choice: Be a TV company or be a touchstone culturally in the lives of that audience."

Richmond says the change is clear: "In the past six to nine months, we've seen a huge acceleration of companies moving video to the Internet."

Signs of this shift are everywhere:
In April, AOL won a Daytime Emmy in a new category, Outstanding Achievement in Video Content for Non-Traditional Delivery Platforms. TV shows created especially for cellphones, hand-held computers and the Internet became a new Emmy category this year; the winner was the "Live 8" concert promo.

At the beginning of May, CBS launched innertube and ABC started streaming four of its TV series to computers. In both cases, advertising covers the costs; programming is free to consumers. So far, ABC is simply replaying "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Alias" and "Commander in Chief" on broadband; CBS has some new content, including "Inturn," a reality contest to cast a winner on the daytime soap "As the World Turns." CBS also is dumping some failed TV series on innertube, like "Fire Me ... Please."

(Broadband refers to two-way, digital transmission links, such as DSL and cable, capable of using multiple frequencies to send large amounts of audio and video information.)

The major networks have launched digital sales forces to work in conjunction with traditional sales teams.

"Rescue Me 2.5," a short, scripted preview of the Denis Leary FX series, is available through May 29 via AOL and video-on-demand through cable companies, including Comcast.

Reversing tradition, Web content is inspiring broadcast shows. HGTV this month debuted a bath-remodeling show lifted from material on HGTV.com.

All this results from the collision of three trends.

First, more than 40 million homes are connected to the Internet via cable or DSL. A critical mass can now receive video.

Second, consumer behavior is changing, telling the industry how people want to access video: on demand, without commercials, highlights only. Spare the boring parts.
Third, as a result, advertisers are changing strategy. They are increasingly under pressure to get their messages in front of the fragmented audience.

While MTV Networks told its advertisers last week that "multiplatform is the message," Comedy Central's Jon Stewart summed up the revolution with his own sardonic twist: "They actually have a show that's delivered through Jell-O shots."

MTV's Graden said by phone last week that there's qualitative and quantitative research on the subject, but the impulse is more intuitive at MTV.

"This is how people are living," he said. "Advertisers are looking to us for solutions. My instinct is, this (multiplatform) is the dominant conversation now. Your imagination, when a pitch comes in, is fired up in a different way. That component is imagined from minute one."

While the networks have tried "pay to play" models, on Google Video and iTunes, those efforts fell short. The current broadband streaming marks the first time the content is being offered without subscriber fees.

(Editor's Note: These stories are more signs of the media platform convergence, or as Al Tompkins at the Poynter Institute calls it - "fusion.")

Monday, June 05, 2006

 

News is Old Moments After it Happens!

Robert Furlong asked this question: If the Beaver Dam broke at 1 a.m., how many people would know about it at 1:10?

In today's society, the answer is "a lot." "News is old almost the moment it happens," said Furlong, the general manager of WRGB/Channel 6, the CBS affiliate in Schenectady. "It's on cell phones and e-mail and Web sites, instantaneously. People are getting connected, and they're connected 24 hours a day."

The task for news organizations, then, is to find ways to be what people are connected to.

For many, that started out with Web sites that allowed people to get written news headlines around the clock. Broadcasters eventually added audio or video clips taken from their newscasts.

But technology continued to evolve and to move from the desktop to the palm of the hand. People began demanding news and information not only when it was most convenient, but where it was most convenient--at work, at home, on the bus, on the golf course.

Now local broadcasters are trying to respond and find ways to remain relevant at a time when personal habits are changing, competition is increasing and traditional newscasts are no longer considered "appointment" programming.

"That's the kind of thing we're all grappling with," Furlong said. "The changes have accelerated, and they are not going to slow down. They will only get faster."

Read the rest @ the Albany, New York Business Review




Friday, June 02, 2006

 

News Pod Taking the Morning Train in Boston

Next time you miss the morning news, download it to your iPod and watch on the subway ride to work.

That's a likely possibility given one of the latest trends among local television news stations: distributing their programs via mobile devices and the Web as they try to hold onto fickle audiences.

Local stations are following the example of broadcast and cable networks, which are rushing to make hits like ``The Sopranos" and ``Lost" available to viewers unwilling to be tethered to a schedule or their TV sets. Locally though, it's the news instead of mob dramas that is migrating to new devices.

Boston TV executives say their multimedia strategies are a response to viewers who are increasingly shifting their viewing to the Web and portable devices. Doing so, they say, is a relatively cheap way to expand the reach of their programming because it usually doesn't involve investing in new equipment or in many cases even the time it takes to produce new video.

More @ Boston.com

 

NBC Wins Sweeps.... Online.

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/1/2006

According to Internet hit tracker, Hitwise, NBC.com had the biggest share of Internet visits among the Big four networks for the four weeks ending May 27.

NBC had 43.45% of the visits to the Big Four, up 100% over May 2005, while ABC was next at 27.14%, up 8% from last May; CBS was at 20.75%; and Fox claimed 8.67%. Those could be increasingly important numbers. According percentage gains of any media delivery system at a 19.4% boost to $2.313 billion.

The big driver of traffic to the Peacock site appeared to be game show Deal Or No Deal, whose online component helped that show to a 30% share of the search traffic to NBC.com.
Hitwise says it is able to monitor 25 million-plus Internet users' visits to over 500,000 websites in 160 categories.

ABC launched free full-show streams on its Web site in May. Not surprisingly, Hitwise found that visits to that streaming portion of ABC.com spikes came on Thursdays (Lost airs Wednesday night) and on Mondays (Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy air Sunday nights).

Hitwise company does not report out the number of visitors, just each network's share of those visits.

 

1.4 Million Downloads in 1 Week for ABC News

Since debuting 5 months ago, “World News Tonight’s” daily podcast “World News Now” has quickly become one of the most popular podcasts available on iTunes. Data for the week of May 22-28 reveals that the video podcast was downloaded 1.4 million times via iTunes and ABCNEWS.com, a record level for “World News Now.”

Read the entire paper @ Lost Remote

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

 

Relationships Are the Future

There's a big difference between providing news content on many platforms and viewing your station as a 'content creation machine' or viewing your product as a relationship mechanism...

To be successfully in the future - your going to have to be willing to befriend your 'users' by giving them what they're looking for... Even if it's not your content!

It will be about relationships and you have to start building them now.

See what Terry Heaton of Donata Communications has to say....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

Another Inergized Award!

Cincinnati does it right!

Kudos to the television stations in Cincinnati for their efforts online. They seem to be embracing the web world and pushing more content online than most.

Another congrats to Cincinnati.Com for recognizing the changes underway in their market and having what it takes to report it! While the story certainly isn't Murrow material - the fact that an online news organization reported it earns Cincinnati.Com our applause for a job well done.

No wonder their site is one of the highest traffic news web sites around today.

Congrats, for that Cincinnati earns our second Inergized Award.


If you know of a site that rates an Inergized Award for doing it right, let me know. If you know of one that rates our Dial-up Award, pass that along as well!

Our last Inergized Award went to The IndyChannel.Com back in April.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

 

The Way It Should Be

Amazing.

The Washington Post is on the forefront of the future of news. They prove it again with some amazing video shot by Nelson Hernandez, one of their reporters. He's covering an everyday story of water-trucks being delivered in Iraq. He's a journalist of the future, using words, still photos and video.

As TV news people, you'll first fall victim to 'style', saying something like, "you can tell he's a newspaper reporter, " But you soon see clearly - he's a reporter and that's what it is all about.

Check it out at the Washington Post

 

Our First "Dial-Up Award"

Goes to WTVR in Richmond.
I can't be too hard on them, after all they're a World Now station.

They're running a commercial for some kind of elderly driving program on their video player.

Unless they have information that their primary online video user is 50+, why would you do that?

The spot is for www.granddriver.net - a great program, but probably not the best place to find the demographic you're after to grow a web site.


If you have a comment, post it!
If you have a nominee for another "Dial-up Award", post it here!
We also award the "Inergized Award" for sites that are doing it right! So send us your nominees.
* See posting back on April 10th for the last Inergized winner... The IndyChannel.Com

 

Where is the Energy for Winning?

The energy for change doesn't seem to be out there.
A few news outlets seem to get it and have taken action to put a user friendly site up - but for the most part (it seems to me) everyone does the bare minimum. Sure, companies are paying huge salleries for Vice Presidents of New Media to become experts on the issue but as long as there is a web site with basic video function they think they've met the users needs.

I have a news flash, you haven't!

If you have access to the numbers, get them out and look at them. Where are your visitors going and how much time are the spending on your site? First, they're after weather and secondly, news and news video. The key is how little time they spend with you getting that. The reason, they also go to your competitors, and online it's not the guys across the street.

Every single day you have these "met the minimum' sites up you risk loosing users and viewers for years to come. The energy and the money, needs to be spent now to create online news communities, the place your TV viewers will call home 15 years from now.

Think it wont happen that way? Remember the cable explosion of the 1980's? What did that do to television news viewing? If your broadcast audience is constantly shrinking, where do you think these people are going?

Right now it seems the only one making anything happen is the Fox station group. While there will be improvements made - their new sites are designed for the user.

What's it going to take? Common sense.
Local TV needs more than 1.56 people working on the station web site!
Fox made their stations go out and hire more people exclusively for the web. Some stations have four or five "news" people dedicated to the web site!

You surf the web... You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't. So, if one station in a market makes the commitment today and creates an online, live, ever changing news and community site - don't you think that site will lead the market in page views and unique visitors?

And if the web is where your broadcast audience is going....

Common sense.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

 

From Jeff Jarvis' "Buzz Machine"

When I read this it all sounded so familiar! You can read the whole thing at Jeff's Buzz Machine.
To improve local newscasts...

1. Slice.
Cut up your shows into stories and put them all online.
After you air a story, it's fishwrap. Nobody can see it. If they missed it, well, that's tough for them. Is that any way to treat your public? Well, you don't have to anymore.
You should put up every story you do -- and not just as a stream but as files that the people can distribute on their own.
You can still make money on this -- in fact, you'll make new money: Put ads on the video; track those ads; and tack on a Creative Commons license that says people can distribute the video but cannnot muck with it. And you'll find something magical will happen: Your audience will market your product for you and distribute it for you and it won't cost you anything more. It's free money, damnit. Tell that to your stockholders.
And while you're at it, take your script for the segment and associate it with the video as meta data (that is, post it on a blog with a link to the video) so people can find your stories on search engines and then watch them.
This means that people who really want to see your stories and are interested in them can now do so. We're no longer captive to your schedule and your selection; we can watch what interests us. We are in control.
The result: You will get a more interested and involved audience. You will get a bigger audience. You will get more people who will like what you do and start watching your old-fashioned shows. You will benefit. We will benefit.
If you really care about informing the public -- which, of course, you do -- then this is the first step to doing it a new and better way.

2. Add.
You have more material for every story you do: I've seen how much goes into a 3-minute piece and how much is left out.
Now in most cases, I do think that stuff that's cut is extraneous to most people. You're right to edit and package. Keep it up.
And in the early days of online when news people thought this medium was all about getting more time to tell longer stories with more stuff and another chance to show off cute writing, I screamed in protest: No, your stories are already too long anyway. Find the nearest period!
But for those who are intensely interested in a story or who want to look deeper into what we say, why not put up all the rest of your material? Why throw it away? Put up entire interviews and do it in chunks so people people link directly to one piece or another and, in essence, put up their own remixes. Show the world your great reporting.
If you're doing your job right, this will help your credibility and reputation, for most people will see that you really did pick the right stuff and did tell the story well.
More important, you enable people who need more information to get it. And that is our job, isn't it?

3. Link.
It's as simple as that: Link outside of your own echo chamber of a newsroom. Link to your competitors and show what they did on stories -- stories you did better, stories you didn't do. Do not assume we are your captive. Assume we are smart and want to be informed and want to find the best reports we can. Also assume that we are a thinking public and we want to see and hear different perspectives on a story so we can decide what we think. So help us. We'll appreciate it.
Link to your competitors. It will be good for you. It will make you want to do better jobs on stories than they do.

4. Listen.
Listen to the people you used to call your audience but should see as your equals.
The next time bloggers suggest a fact of yours may be wrong, (CBS), listen to them!
Quote them. Look into what they say. Thank them. Learn your lesson, huh?
And it's not just about fact-checking. It's about knowing that your former viewers have something valuable to say. At first, it's just about quoting their words.
But you know that it won't be very long before we're all equipped with cameras and we'll all be witnesses to our 15 minutes of news. The wise news organization will create an easy way to collect and remix and redistribute all that. Wouldn't you like to have eyewitness video from the heart of a new story? Recognize that anyone can be a reporter. Anyone who sees and reports news is a reporter. So widen your world. Listen. Quote. Make your public a star alongside your anchors.

When you've done all that, you've turned news into a conversation.
You've turned the spotlight away from the anchor -- the mere personality who got you in trouble -- and you turn it onto the news itself, where it belongs.
You've engaged the people you used to call your viewers, who used to just sit there but have since started walking away, into the news.
You've made anchors what they should be: supporting players, second bananas. (And you've saved yourself a helluva lot of money along the way.)
And you've informed the public. Isn't that what news is about instead of an anchor's fame?

Monday, May 15, 2006

 

RTNDA, Ball State Survey Touches Online Issues

If you're an RTNDA member you can read the entire survey article here. For those who are not - you should join! RTNDA is the top organization for all electronic journalists, including online journalists.
Now, what's so special about this survey? Let me hit the highlights for you.

1. Half of all TV news directors have no idea whether their web site is profitable or not.
2. Television stations have an average of 1.56 full time staffers working on their web site.
3. 58.2% of all television station web sites provide video.

OK
Are you profitable?
First, how can a television news director not know if their stations site is profitable? It's a dangerous indication of what's happening on your web site if you don't know. Because, to me at least, if you don't know - then probably someone else does know. I'm guessing the person who does know(sales), probably controls more of the content on your site than you (news). That would indicate your station has missed the boat and needs to regroup quickly so you can offer the content to drive people not just TO your site but INTO your site. When the 'regrouping' begins there will be lots of weeping, wailing and nashing of teeth but in the end it'll be a brighter picture for everyone. Your content will improve, your traffic will increase and the sales team can take that and run with it!

Staff Issues:
One and a half people! That's it. The future of your local news operation is in the hands of 1.56 people! Make no mistake, the way local news has been done since the 1980's is about to change radically. You need to create a vision for what your local news product is going to look like in the future. Will you be breaking stories online before you break them on the air? Are you willing to let an entire interview run unedited online? Will you allow viewers to post their own breaking news images and videos to your web site?
A forward thinking news operation must answer these questions today if it plans on being in business at all a few years from now. So if you'd like to think your taking the aggressive online position in the market, how many people need to staff your site to make it happen? Certainly more than 1.56! Perhaps the best solution is to create a plan with dates and additions t your stations web site. When those additions happen to the site - more staff need to come on board as well.

Online Video:
Less than 60% of all television stations are posting video to their web sites. I wonder why they're ignoring the one thing that could potetially save them from internet oblivion? No one else can create compelling visual local news stories, no one. It remains the one and only key that local television news has to unlock its own successful future. Even newspapers 'get it'. Many are starting to create and post video to their web sites. Why? Because they know the challenge the future holds and to be competitive - they need video on their web sites now!

Local TV news is in the cat-bird seat on this -IF - you can make it happen now.

Ok, enough of what I think. Here's what on line users are after frin their local TV news web sites. Unfortunately there's no distinction made in the survey for 'news video' so we have to place it in 'local news'. Either way, I think you'd agree that local news 'video' is one of the more appealing applications on a web site.

1. Local weather
2. Local news
3. Money news
4. Other information
5. Entertainment news
6. Headlines
7. Local sports
8. Weather elsewhere
9. Live cameras
10. Traffic
(Source: RTNDA/Ball State University)


Kevin Osgood
Monday May 15, 2006


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