Monday, May 26, 2008

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome everyone! I'm a broadcast news professional working as a manager at a television station in a major (slowly becoming medium!) media market. I'm also a Master's degree student at West Virginia University, hoping to earn my degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications next spring, and taking IMC 619 New Media this semester. In this blog I'll be posting my thoughts about emerging media, and some (but not necessarily all) of my musings will reflect on the impact new media is having on my business.

For someone like me who has a career invested in what some might call "old" media, the idea of new media is a little bit frightening. It's threatening the very basis on which television news was built, and we're already part of the revolution that will change us. For example, our website. Five years ago my TV station had a good (for the times) website, staffed by webmaster (the best in the world, BTW) Jen who worked days M-F in the office, and off hours from home. In addition to containing the usual content you'd expect from a TV station website (information about the station, its anchors & reporters), the website mostly re-purposed in written form content that had already been broadcast.

Fast forward to today: the website is now staffed by four people (Jen is the boss!) and covered 6am-midnight seven days a week. The site breaks news all the time, not just waiting for a story to be broadcast before it's published to the web. Site visitors can not only read written versions of most stories, they can watch them on-line. Plus the website offers tons of web-only content including blogs, slideshows, web chats, web casts, links, live video streaming of breaking news events to name a few.

I bring this up to make the point that, in a world where people want their information when they want it, where they want it and how they want it, making an "appointment" to sit down and watch an entire newscast on TV is something that a lot of folks aren't willing to do any more. And thanks to new media (in this case our website) they don't have to. Even older people are catching on. I got an e-mail from a viewer the other day who saw a promotion for a story about the dangers of some osteoporosis medications, and was irritated that she had to wait through our entire 5 o'clock newscast (it aired around 5:55pm) to see it. She said "next time I'll just wait to watch it on your website." That one statement has interesting implications for the future of local broadcast news!


Mara Linaberger said...

Greetings from your techie sister! Here's something to look into. I use a social networking tool called "Twitter" sometimes at work... you can check the website to see what it is all about... to keep connected with the top educational technology folk around the globe. Somehow, I ended up getting posts from one of your local competitor stations. If your station is really interested in staying competitive, they might look into the latest tools like Twitter as an even faster way to push out the big headlines to high-tech folk like myself.

Great blog by the way!

Anne said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I've read a lot about this site in my travels for this class but haven't checked it out yet. I definitely will!

Andy said...

Like the lady frustrated by waiting 55 mins into a news broadcast to see the one and only thing she wanted to see, I think the notion of scheduling time to watch scheduled TV shows, news, etc., will become a thing of the past. I, like I'm sure a lot of Internet users, no longer look to broadcast or print media for *any* reference information (weather, traffic, market info, etc.). It's simply way more efficient to "pull" it when I want it and set it up to show with exact content and format I need so as to make best use of my time. For TV shows, DVR puts those shows at a time when you want to watch...and yes, when watching DVR most people skip the commercials.

I think the notion of "broadcast" advertising needs to fully evolve as it's inefficient. It wastes advertiser budgets going too wide and it wastes target audience time hearing stuff they don't care about. The good news is that when someone's watches (on-demand of course) niche content, say on "proper care for orchids", you can efficiently align advertising to this niche audience. So in a sense, as things evolve, things become "better" for both target (fewer non-relevant ads) and advertiser (higher likelihood of response). But we're far from "there" yet.

Anne said...

Andy --

Since major market TV station internet sites already allow people to pick and choose which TV stories they want to watch, what do you think of the notion of niche-casting on the air? In other words, some kind of on-demand vehicle where people basically "build" their own newscasts, choosing the stories they want to watch and not choosing the stories that don't interest them?

As an aside, the Pittsburgh TV market is very old-fashioned: a large number of viewers here still do make an appointment to view their favorite newscast. But it certainly pays to look ahead to the future when that will change as it already has in markets where the population is much younger.