Rebecca Campbell, president and CEO of the Disney ABC Television Station group says her stations encourage user-generated content and sees its use to steadly increase. “I don’t think we’re old media. We’re pioneers again because we have new spaces to take our content and save lives and share happy moments in the community.”
TV stations will one day get a large percentage of their breaking news video from viewers, predicted Rebecca Campbell, president and CEO of the Disney ABC Television Station group.
Speaking Friday in a keynote interview at LiveTV:LA, Campbell said producing local TV news is an increasingly interactive affair, with producers using social media to alert followers to breaking news, and viewers shooting video and sending it to newsrooms.
ABC stations are promoting the trend, Campbell added. “Many of our stations brand themselves as ‘Eyewitness News’ and they’ve begun encouraging viewers to become an eyewitness and send in video when they see news,” she said.
“If they see something, they send us video,” she said. “We’re their station of choice and they like to be engaged with us.”
User-generated video ranges from breaking stories to photos of local kids on the first day of school or Halloween, Campbell said.
Also energizing local news is the fact that it is now multiscreen, Campbell said. When WPVI Philadelphia broke the story that police had captured suspected cop-killer Eric Fein, it alerted viewers first via Twitter, Campbell said.
“We were on the air with the 6 p.m. news when our producers were able to confirm the report with three sources,” she said. In addition to telling the story during the show, the station sent alerts to its social media followers and app users. “We had instant communication with people who didn’t have an opportunity to watch.”
The desire to communicate with viewers where they are led the ABC owned stations to create an Alarm Clock App. “Two years ago we had all of our news directors and general managers in a meeting and we were talking about trends in the way people behave in the morning,” Campbell said.
“The first thing most people do in the morning is turn off the alarm on their smartphone. So we decided to build an alarm clock app that would give the top three stories and the weather for the day.”
Next, Campbell said, the company would like to make it easy for app users to go straight from the alarm clock app to the local news on TV. “We’re working on getting a remote built into your app so you can turn on the TV set.
“People say we’re the old media,” Campbell said. “I don’t think we’re old media. We’re pioneers again because we have new spaces to take our content and save lives and share happy moments in the community.”