Afternoon session tells local TV broadcasters they are behind the curve and need to turn Web technology into their favor.
Consumers of video, the Internet, iPods, and other media are not ahead of the curve, they are orchestrating its every crest and wave. So noted panelists at the Broadcast Super Session Tuesday afternoon, part of the Promax/BDA 2006 conference.
“A tsunami is out there. We can either ride it or have it crash over us,” said Dr. Seth Geiger, president of Smith/Geiger research and marketing. “People really love TV,” he added, “but they’re getting it over the Net. The Web is becoming a video-based medium and we need to turn that technology into our favor.”
Joined at the lecturn by Marv Danielski, vice president of promotions and marketing, Hearst-Argyle Television, the duo presented a combination of research data and a call to action for station managers, marketers, sales promoters and others eager to find a bright side to the shadow new media has cast on television’s once singular shining star.
“We’re behind the curve,” Danielski began, quipping, “You know it’s a revolution when even Nielsen says it’s modernizing. They, too, plan to ‘Follow the Video.’ We should too.”
Indeed, streaming video content can be the one clear way television stations can differentiate themselves locally from the growing consumer use of Yahoo, Google and the many other multiple platforms, they insist.
“Local streaming video content can help broadcast regain leadership,” Geiger noted. “The one thing we do best on air is the thing we are going to have to do best online.” Danielski then screened high-definition video of Winter Olympic highlights, shot by Hearst-Argyle for its streaming video feed.
“We got 10 million video streams, 380 million page views,” Danielski noted. “That’s 112 million more views than our previous Olymic coverage.
The bottom line: digital “urgency” (hot viewer drivers like local weather and breaking news) coupled with absolute convenience of use can make repurposed and/or original content a golden asset on station Web sites.
“The Web is not just a way to drive viewers on air, the Web can re-direct viewers back to TV,” Danielski concluded. “But there’s very little tolerance for a clumsy or cluttered video experience. Train your promotions team to create a Web site that loads quickly and is easy to use. Then enhance it by teasing viewers on air with reasons to go there. Not just ‘to learn more’ but to showcase your unique local product: local weather, breaking news stories, superior visuals, great music. We’ve got to bring emotion back to our brands.”
Bonnie Barclay, president, The Branding Iron, followed with her own “Crystal Ball” for branding for the future. Her mantra: “Differentiate or die.” Invigorate your brand or, worse, risk being wrongly defined. “Your brand is not your marketing or your branding,” she warned. “Your ‘brand’ is what your viewers perceive you as.”
Worth noting: Younger viewers don’t really care about call letters or channel numbers anymore. They have grown up finding “televsion” all over their cable or Internet sources. Yet, according to Greg Goyla, broadcast director, WKYC Cleveland, who spoke later, “TV content is more popular then ever, according to a recent IBM Media Study.” While the study is called “The End to Television As We Know It,” Goyla explained, “people, in fact, are watching more of it than ever, with usage expected to go up. What broadcast companies must do is get in front of all these changes or the consumer will leave them behind.”