Political candidates and advocacy groups will be spending $3.3 billion on local TV next year, but it will not be evenly distributed across the industry, forecasts Steve Passwaiter of Kantar Media, which tracks ad spending of all kinds. It goes to the states and markets where the hot races are, he said. What’s more, digital media will be stepping up efforts to take more of the political dollars, he said. “They smell the opportunity.”
Station broker Larry Patrick says FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is “tilting the field dramatically on the side of the cable and satellite people.” Others claim the big threat to local television is local advertisers and ad agencies in confusion” about new media. And another sees opportunity in local TV’s ability to serve the interests of their communities, they just need to do so more intensively than they are now.
Author/media critic Michael Wolff says TV is prevailing because it refused to change when confronted with the digital challenge, he said. “Not bending is exactly the thing that has kept the industry in place, strong and in a competitive position.” Digital companies like Netflix and Facebook pose a threat, but not as digital media outlets, but as producers and distributors of TV, he says.
While the growth of digital may be disrupting broadcasters, many are finding ways to compete by leverage their scale and boosting their relevance with original offerings.
Jeffrey Marks, president-GM of WDBJ Roanoke, Va., says that while representing the station to the world after two of his journalists were gunned down was tough, “I think 99% of reporters on stories like these do show compassion.” But, he added, holding up a mike to one side of the story and then the other side of the story doesn’t suffice. “We have to work diligently to provide history and perspective.”
The trade group’s chairman, Mike Fiorile, talks about some TVB initiatives and what other broadcast sales pros are talking about these days, including programmatic selling, the turbulent rep business and the changing nature of broadcast sales.
The trade group’s annual gathering in New York will feature presentations and discussion led by advertising, media and industry experts addressing emerging trends in broadcast television and digital media, including programmatic, OTT, measurement, Big Data and more.