Local TV stations have long promoted their news and other programming to audiences. But how well have they marketed their brands? How well are they positioning their programming in a media environment increasingly filled with targeted channels and streaming services? What do leading media industry marketers suggest TV stations do to enhance their marketing?
TV meant to be responsive to the moment seemed distant. But podcasts, with the intimate production values, felt more immediate and relevant than ever before.
Joe Ferullo: “Donald Trump is gone, but the damage done to news media lingers on. Thanks to the former president, journalism has been “Jerry Springerized” — addicted to conflict and madness in the search for audience.”
Last week’s winter storms were a reminder that audiences, enamored of streaming though they might be, still tune in to live TV coverage as essential viewing. Networks would do well to take that into account and move forward with integrated distribution strategies that include their legacy station partners.
Leaders and employees need to focus on self-care to avoid pandemic-related burnout. Staying healthy, and personally balanced is crucial as we continue to face an uncertain future. Here are some ways to work toward that goal.
Margaret Sullivan: “When Alden Global Capital announced Tuesday that it was positioned to buy the Chicago Tribune and several other major newspapers, its statement might have sounded promising. But only if you knew nothing about how this hedge fund has sucked much of the life out of the newspapers it already owns in places like Denver and San Jose.”
Michael Cieply: Good free speech coverage would pay if you are fired, suspended, banned from professional status or otherwise deprived of income or community standing for voicing a thought that bothers someone else.
It is a welcome respite, to no longer hear terms such as “fake news” and “enemy of the people” emanating from the White House. But this is no time for complacency among journalists across the country who work hard every day to serve their communities by seeking and reporting the truth. There are still major challenges that need to be addressed.
Tara Lachapelle: Distancing from the former president may hurt ratings for a while, but it will safeguard profits over the long term.
Television stations should take a cue from the NAB, whose commitment to holding an in-person conference in October offers a light at the end of COVID’s long, dark tunnel.
Joe Ferullo: “With Donald Trump banned from Twitter and exiled to Mar-a-Lago, television news channels find themselves searching for a new tone and a fresh direction. Here’s a modest proposal: America’s overheated, hyper-dramatic cable personalities might want to take a page from Jen Psaki — because the White House press secretary is cool. And by that, I mean: “medium cool.”
As the 45th president’s second impeachment trial arrives on Tuesday, CNN viewers might want to recall how Trump’s presidency came about in the first place. It was in no small part the work of CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who announced last week that he will leave the network at the end of 2021. It started with Trump’s celebrity breakout on The Apprentice two decades ago. Zucker was the NBC executive who used Trump to boost the network’s troubled ratings. In the process, he made Trump himself a household name.
The poorly understood history of the Fairness Doctrine shows not only that reinstating it won’t fix current political media crises, but also that it won’t be the check on conservative media’s worst offenses that so many want it to be.
The media and entertainment industry has disproportionate influence over society’s attitudes, feelings and behaviors. When we take time to embrace and mentor people of color in our business, as the late Jeana Stanley of Hearst did, good things happen — we foster advancement while combatting stereotypes. Here’s to the time in our country when everyone can clearly see what they can be.
Yvonne Leow: “We’re living in a remarkable time when reporters no longer have to win an editor’s approval to publish a story, reach an audience, and get paid. In fact, anyone can technically do it, which is why the distinction between professional journalists (people employed by news organizations) and creators (individuals producing journalistic content online) no longer exists.”
A recent study published by two FCC economists shows the agency’s local ownership regulations depress the amount of local news programming that could otherwise be produced. The FCC could immediately promote more local news production just by relaxing its outmoded rules.
Chris Stirewalt: “Having worked in cable news for more than a decade after a wonderfully misspent youth in newspapers, I can tell you the result: a nation of news consumers both overfed and malnourished. Americans gorge themselves daily on empty informational calories, indulging their sugar fixes of self-affirming half-truths and even outright lies.”
Media asset management systems need to become media-centric platforms with easy-to-use integration and configurability tools, adapting and growing as needs and technologies change.
Story producers, most of whom are freelancers without union protections, are leaned on for many of the unheralded editing tasks on unscripted formats — an increasingly unsustainable setup.
In my experience, panel discussions oversimplify, provoke outrage, and allow unchecked opinion to dominate at the expense of fact-based reporting. But in reporting the issue, I found there are more nuanced and dangerous reasons that the format dominates the airwaves.
The first official words by President Biden’s spokeswoman included truth and transparency. Wednesday night’s session with reporters, the first of the Biden administration, was so normal — so weirdly normal — that you could be forgiven for thinking that you had mistakenly put on an old episode of The West Wing. This return to norms is wonderfully welcome after the horrors of the past four years. It’s also potentially dangerous.
Companies need to be aware of online compliance regulations that could trip up media businesses looking to build online revenues.
The virtual, but still vital, NATPE that took place this week occasions a look back to its origins from early days of hotel suites to a carnival-like heyday packed with stars.
Dick Lippin, a veteran communications executive, offers perspective on how the entertainment industry can help the nation rebound from the COVID-19 crisis.
It’s time to stop fueling President Trump’s lie that the election was rigged, and broadcast needs to play an important role in doing so. The NAB must cut off support to the lie’s congressional enablers, talk radio must sever ties with hosts fueling the lie and TV stations need unequivocal language to characterize it for what it is.
Oliver Darcy: “As we cover D.C. politics and the fallout from last week’s attack, we should not forget that thousands of Americans continue to lose their lives each day to this ruthless virus. And while the vaccine rollout is gradually improving, the situation right now is, frankly, very alarming and urgent.”
Joe Mancini: To analyze critical audience data collected via their OTT services, media companies should call on “citizen data scientists” using powerful AI software to crunch data and isolate trends.
Margaret Sullivan: “What’s happened in the journalism sphere is complicated. Tragically, crucial sources of local news have withered, while the toxic media of the radical right thrives. The reality-based national press, though flawed and stuck for too long in outdated conventions, has managed to do its job — with dedication and with bravery, given the dangers created by Trump’s antipathy to what he calls ‘the enemy of the people.’ ”
NAB President Gordon Smith: “The work of the press to keep the American public informed during these dark times has been admirable, valuable and — because of an unacceptable and alarming lack of information provided by law enforcement officials — necessary. It is imperative that law enforcement not only address the American people about the possibility of danger in the days ahead, but also provide security briefings to news media to help keep journalists safe while reporting from the field.”
Jon Allsop: “The most immediate answer to both these accountability questions is the same: to never forget what happened on [Jan. 6], and to use it as a point of no return. That means no more squeamishness about calling nasty truths—racism, lies, coups—what they are; no more bothsidesism; no more optics chatter; no more blinkered American exceptionalism.”
He may desperately need his own platform now that he’s been exiled from Twitter, but it’s going to cost him more than he’s got.
There are no winners on the local front when it comes to station blackouts, but stations can maintain goodwill by answering irate viewers’ calls, keeping clients informed and calling viewers when carriage is restored.
Margaret Sullivan: “Fair and balanced” was the original Fox News lie, one of the rotten planks that built the foundation for Wednesday’s democratic disaster. In the Trump era, the network — now out of favor for not being quite as shameless as the president demands — was his best friend and promoter. So to put it bluntly: The mob that stormed and desecrated the Capitol on Wednesday could not have existed in a country that hadn’t been radicalized by the likes of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, and swayed by biased news coverage.
With the CTV space growing ever more crowded, Discovery+ launched with a big bet that there’s room for “passing the day” programming on streaming. It’s banking on loyal subs to cut the cord, capturing international audiences and ad-supported tiers and commerce for the win.
The coronavirus isn’t the only reason that modern day life has moved online, but it the most important reason behind the speed of the overwhelming shift in lifestyle. COVID-19 pushed technology and media to accelerate what was already happening, and that’s why I’ve made these predictions now. I will leave them without supporting documentation, as I prefer them to be conversation starters. Agree or disagree as you will, but please, add to the list.
Educators might not be teaching civics as well as they used to in middle and high school, but cable TV is doing a good job of it. Viewers are getting a firsthand lesson this week with coverage of Tuesday’s Senate runoff vote in Georgia and the planned challenge Wednesday to the certification of Joe Biden as president. And some mainstream cable channels like MSNBC and CNN have been doing an outstanding job teaching, as well as covering, the news by explaining the Constitution and how government is supposed to work — something too few Americans seem to understand these days.