The biggest and most important social media challenge to you as a TV station is to use your platforms to increase ratings by getting new viewers to sample newscasts, and — even more critically — getting current viewers to watch you more often. If they watched you once a week and now watch you three times a week, that’s great growth. The same applies to digital. Imagine what it would do to your metrics if you could repeatedly bring back your users throughout the week.
Why do some TV stations continue making Facebook their primary platform for breaking news and especially breaking video instead of their own platforms? Why not make sure the content gets on the station’s revenue platforms?
Facebook is now in the weather business, automatically putting current conditions along with severe weather alerts the extended forecast into users’ news feeds. How can local TV stations push back against this encroachment into their crucial territory? Sending plenty of push alerts is a start.
Amazing. Unbelievable. Engaging. The live images we saw from the local stations and cable networks covering the Hurricane Harvey aftermath were almost overwhelming. Technology has pushed live reporting to a new level. We have truly entered a new era of live disaster and breaking coverage. But this also brings along challenges.
People no longer need to watch newscasts for stories about crime, traffic accidents and fires — the things that not long ago were a TV station’s bread and butter. Users are getting it first hand in real time. Some police departments have more folks dedicated to digital than do TV stations in the market. It’s clear: local TV news needs to move beyond the police blotter or fire department calls of the day. Station and news managers need to come up with a deep, viewer-focused content strategy.
The Dec. 12 opening session of TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum will feature Hearst TV’s Roger Keating; E.W. Scripps’ Sean McLaughlin; CJ&N’s Steve Schwaid; and Dalet’s Frederic Roux who will be “Imaging the Newsroom of the Future.”
Steve Schwaid: “Stations, how do you think of your news and weather app? Chances are, many stations only think of their app as pushing forecasts and weather alerts. Few realize how many folks may actually use the weather or news app to watch the station’s air, especially during breaking events. Are your apps designed to provide a live stream of breaking weather and news? If not, you need to fix this immediately. Here’s how.”
It’s ironic how some stations lament their digital growth is slowing. The desktop numbers have crashed because of mobile and apps. In some markets we’re even seeing those numbers decline. Why? Often, those local products are frustrating for users. In research, viewers tell us the information is old, the site itself has not been updated in hours and at least a couple of stations in pretty good sized markets don’t have a local person update their sites on a Saturday or Sunday. Really. What’s the solution? Treat your digital platforms like you would treat your air.
Every GM and news director I know who oversees a local newsroom has taken severe weather very seriously. We spend millions of dollars on early warning equipment, radars and other software to make sure we can get the information on the air as quickly as possible. We are local broadcasters. We are the only source of instantaneous information showing the storm, explaining where it is heading and what viewers need to know right now to protect themselves. This is what a local TV station does. It focuses on your community. Your home.
The VP-news director of Philadelphia’s Fox O&O sent an email to his staff Monday morning promising to explain to them later “my decision not to renew my contract.” He’s been in the job about a year.
Schwaid joins the Fox Philadelphia O&O from Meredith Local Media, where he was VP of digital content. He succeeds Kingsley Smith, who in June became the ND at Fox’s O&O in Los Angeles, KTTV.
Four years after leaving WorldNow, Meredith Local Media Group has returned to the company for its online technology and sales support. The two companies signed a four-year contract that covers all 12 Meredith stations and starts in June.
Tom Cox becomes VP of digital sales while Steve Schwaid is named VP of digital content at Meredith’s Local Media Group.