Years of experience means broadcasters now know quicker what does, or does not, work and they are able to more methodically develop and adopt new digital offerings. Although some broadcasters still can’t fully embrace putting big effort into courting digital advertisers — primarily because digital ads are far cheaper than on-air spots — it is still a profitable venture TV stations should take advantage of,
After years of experimenting — and betting on the future — broadcasters say they now can tell whether their digital products will resonate with consumers a year after launching them, meaning they no longer have to spend up to five years waiting to find out if something works.
“We now have the benefit of scale,” said Fox Stations VP of Digital Media Ron Stitt, explaining that with 40 million uses on his group’s platforms alone, there is a big enough pool of consumers to see whether a digital product is going to catch on.
Stitt was one of three digital exes — Graham Media Group VP Catherine Badalamente and Hearst Television VP Mike Rosellini were the other two — who discussed the breadth of issues broadcasters are dealing with when it comes to digital endeavors, from developing products to selling ads on them, Wednesday at the CCW-SATCON conference in New York.
Badalamente said now that broadcasters know quicker what does, or does not, work they are able to more methodically develop and adopt new digital offerings.
“We produced over 90 station apps in a one year period. We were in a frenzy,” she said.
Now that Graham has scaled that activity back, the company has been able to concentrate more on creating digital products that are real attention grabbers. The company, for instance, already has gotten “10 times our investment” on StormPins, a crowd-sourced weather app launched with Graham’s backing last summer.
“We are now using that as a model,” she said, explaining that StormPins has all the makings of a standout digital offering. “It’s enhancing our TV product. It’s a standalone product. And it’s taking us into a space we haven’t been before.”
Badalamente said that the latest wave of digital endeavors, like StormPins, show the evolution of broadcasters in the space, now that the industry has come to grips with having to compliment but not replicate their on-air product. “Broadcasters in general have been pushing out what we’ve been doing forever, and we’ve learned that’s not going to work,” she said.
Reconciling what consumers want with what advertisers want is also a challenge, panelists said.
Rosellini, for instance, said that advertisers still put a higher value on desktop products than mobile, despite a consumer shift to the latter. “The client may not want to be on mobile, but that’s where the audience is,” he said.
In turn, Badalamente said she believes broadcasters should take a cross-platform approach to ad sales so that neither the client, nor the seller, gets wrapped up in parsing out dollars to fragmented efforts. It’s a model that’s already resonating with big-brand advertisers, and should translate to local businesses as well.
“National advertisers love having a 360 degree approach, and that’s where we see ourselves as really valuable,” she said.
Although some broadcasters still can’t fully embrace putting big effort into courting digital advertisers — primarily because digital ads are far cheaper than on-air spots — it is still a profitable venture TV stations should take advantage of, she added.
“If we are not in that space, we are going to miss out on a big opportunity.”
Read more CCW-SATCON coverage here.