In replacing Chris Licht with Mark Thompson, David Zaslav lost an opportunity to move the channel back towards straight news. The loss of reasoned debate among people who disagree, yet still respect each other, is the great tragedy of the 21st century. CNN had a chance to build a small bridge over that chasm of partisanship, but the opportunity now seems to be gone.
A tipping point for the broadcast industry is coming, and part of it hinges on a problem that Disney chief Bob Iger created for himself.
TV stations should view last week’s raid on the Marion County Kansas Record by local police and sheriff’s deputies as a warning shot. Every newsroom should have a plan to deal with potential search warrants with the station’s attorneys squarely on board.
With its seemingly boundless applications for news, AI is likely to deepen the divide between best-in-class and worst-in-class station owners. The better ones will recognize its capacity to augment and expand their reporting capacities.
A recent study from RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University lays bare just how overwhelmed TV newsroom personnel have become. The bucks stops at the corporate level for this problem, and the C-suite is running out of time to address it.
The closing of five news departments at Sinclair stations across the country may just be an effect of one company’s regional sports network gone sideways. It may also signal that a major local TV news shakeup is finally upon us.
Paramount Global is using its latest Fubo TV negotiation to offer an untenable deal to affiliates and reset the entire retransmission consent landscape. The FCC’s response should be obvious: Make everyone play by the same rules.
Expensive money, a possible recession and no political revenues are keeping buyers shy this year. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.
Newly minted TV station general managers are often thrown into their jobs with little or no training. It seems like a needless risk for station groups to take with their multimillion-dollar profit centers.
Facing 2023’s major headwinds, TV stations need to confront their oversupply problem — and the need for new goods and services — or face dire consequences.
Streaming’s bubble has burst, and national advertising won’t be the panacea to rescue media companies for their all-in bets on OTT. In 2023, it’s the consumers who will determine who will survive.
TVNewsCheck columnists and veteran TV executives Hank Price and Emily Barr began their friendship more than 40 years ago as an industry mentor and mentee. In this joint column they reflect on that relationship, how it shaped their respective careers and how young professionals today can form their own fruitful mentoring relationships.
The prospect of returning the 10 p.m. hour to stations doesn’t portend the end of the network-affiliate relationship. If anything, it opens up the field for fairer financial agreements for stations and more control of primetime.
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell has all but confirmed a decision to trim back primetime by an hour, a move that will fundamentally alter the linear broadcast industry. Broadcasters would do well to buckle up for change now.
With so many hours of morning and afternoon TV news, the market is getting close to saturation. Local winners and losers are sure to follow, and soon.
Recent coverage by WTVA Tupelo, Miss., of a man threatening to crash a plane into a local Walmart demonstrated once again why solid news coverage by local stations that display professionalism and calm is so crucial. The decision to not speculate or sensationalize, but stick to the facts, demonstrated why people still trust local television more than any other media.
NBC has floated the idea of shrinking back primetime and giving back the 10 p.m. hour to local news. Would it be a shrewd move or just another sign of the network’s slavish prioritizing of Peacock?
Back in the 1960s, WLBT in Jackson, Miss., had its license revoked after it actively promoted segregation, encouraged viewers to defy the government, break the law and mistreat their fellow human beings. Today, WLBT is an example of how to do race relations right, reflecting the needs, interests and employee makeup of a largely African American community. Its current owner, Gray Television, has just created the Gray Media Training Center to develop fully trained, highly qualified minority graduates for Gray’s stations in 113 markets.
Stagnant regulations and a constricting economy may force the number of TV stations producing news to narrow. Ironically, that could also lead to an increase — and improvement — of news.
Today’s news consumers are smart. They know opinion, preaching and lectures when they see them, including on our own networks. If we want to retain their trust, we must never forget that viewers see forming an opinion as their prerogative, not ours.
The frustrations of a multimedia journalist over the job’s low pay and difficult working conditions published last week by TVNewsCheck rings true with many accounts I’ve heard across the country. The issue is reaching a tipping point that station owners would do well to heed.
The recent upfronts saw networks turning on a dime from their obsession with acquiring subscribers for their streamers to their former adoration of advertising. Whether there’s enough ad revenue to support this industry-wide pivot is another story.
Networks are shortsightedly alienating their affiliate partners with their fixation on their streaming platforms. In so doing, they’re ignoring local brand value, which can carry them over the chasm between hit programs.
The nascent streamer’s abrupt end has roots in the larger failure of CNN’s brand promise, which was squandered by a belated leftward turn at the cable network.
Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (vMVPDs) operate in the loophole of the internet, free from having to honor network exclusivity agreements and able to negotiate directly with ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, thus cutting local affiliates off at the knees. Their regulation needs to be at the top of the FCC’s agenda or quality local news is in peril.
Being a GM is a complex job that requires balancing many competing interests to reach a few common goals. For those who seek it, the best groundwork is laid by learning every role at the station.
TVNewsCheck‘s Michael Depp and Hank Price discuss the dangerous vulnerabilities facing multimedia journalists every day with MMJ Adam Mintzer, asking who bears responsibility for the problem — from news directors and GMs to station groups CEOs themselves.
ViacomCBS — now Paramount — President-CEO Bob Bakish’s two-and-a-half-hour presentation on Tuesday was heavy on talk of streaming but lacking any noticeable discussion of CBS News. Could this foreshadow the company getting out of the news business?
Hank Price: Multimedia journalism was born out of financial considerations, and now that MMJs are widespread, TV news owners and management have an obligation to better ensure their safety. It’s time for news directors to step up at the station level.
TV’s very currency is in crisis, fueled by deepening questions of Nielsen’s accuracy. As the industry shifts its focus toward attribution, the company needs to pull itself out of its insular shell if it wants to create the future advertising currency and secure its own future.
When SEC football moves from CBS to ABC in the fall of 2024, CBS affiliates across the conference will lose the single most advertiser-friendly venue in their arsenals. Millions of dollars will move en masse to ABC affiliates, turning station budgets and revenue audits upside down. The halo CBS affiliates have enjoyed will move right along with those dollars.
Stations bringing up the rear in their local markets have nothing to lose by shaking off their conventional thinking and introducing some radical changes to their news content. Here are a few ideas on how to kick that off.
Local television is an industry that runs on energy, and it has a short circuit. Top leadership needs to confront the burnout issue behind it right now.
According to BIA estimates, direct mail will account for $33.4 billion in local ad revenue next year. Now is the time for local TV to frame out how NextGen TV can be deployed along similar lines to capture that revenue for itself.
The death of local news story much ballyhooed in journalism circles says more about the arrogance of local newspapers than the industry’s actual state. But TV stations need to heed an important lesson in the narrative and cast themselves as trusted local partners, not authoritative gatekeepers of information.
Under well-deserved pressure from the Video Advertising Bureau and the Media Rating Council — not to mention Discovery’s David Zaslav — Nielsen is facing a potentially existential moment. It would do well not to revert to its usual defensive crouch and, instead, engage in a straightforward and transparent dialogue with its clients.
NBC’s Tokyo Olympics are shaping up to be an echo of the 1998 Nagano disaster at CBS, but aberrations aside, the Games will remain sports’ gold standard.
There’s a welcome place for reasonable regulation of political ads, but the current rules are so cumbersome and fraught with traps that even the most minor mistakes invite ready fines and embarrassment. Hopefully, acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s forthcoming changes will address that, but there’s reason for skepticism.
Millennial employees can present generational challenges to older industry leaders, but great leadership transcends these differences, a trait especially needed as the industry navigates enormous change.
John Oliver exposed an embarrassing practice of using local news personnel to shill products on air. Station groups that participate are playing a dangerous game with viewers’ trust in the process.