Sure, we all hear how badly newspapers are getting whipped online. But what about broadcast TV? It’s safe to assume that TV news is making a smoother transition to the digital age and at least cashing in a little better than their print counterparts, right? After all, the web is a visual medium made for video content to shine.
Well, a recent study by Borrell Associates says Internet-only companies sewed up nearly 50 percent of online ad revenue last year, a dominating position that is of little surprise. Newspapers, for all the grief the industry is given, raked in just under 27 percent of net ad dollars, a respectable percentage clearly with room to grow. But the surprise (to me, at least) was that broadcast TV didn’t even break 10 percent of the online ad market.
So what would the revered figure of broadcast journalism Edward R. Murrow do amid the digital revolution? He would be blogging, outfitting reporters with digital-video cameras and teaching them to write insightful blog posts, according to Steve Safran, senior VP of Audience Research & Development, a “local media” consultancy, and managing editor of the LostRemote blog.
Safran was on hand at the NAB conference in Las Vegas earlier this week and asked the Murrow question several times during an RTNDA panel before offering his take. [Broadcast & Cable caught up with Safran for a video interview.]
Safran thinks TV stations have to move their core news gathering operations to focus on the Internet and post continuous updates. The evening news casts would become ostensible highlight reels of content. A former broadcast journalist, Safran pointed to sites like TMZ.com and TheStreet.com as solid revenue models for local TV stations to mimic. He told B&C:
TMZ uses blog software but it’s not a blog. Information gets put on the site as it comes in – it maybe just a sentence – it’s information about what the station is covering. This is how people get their info online and what they’re used to seeing from their news sources. When you think about being in a newsroom, it’s how we consumer the AP wires. If it’s good enough for us, why isn’t it good enough for the audience?
Safran sees a need for local newsrooms to adapt to this “continuous news” model, especially considering that it gives an audience reason to keep coming back, expanding page views, and eventually revenue.
Airing shows on the local news and then posting summaries or video online hasn’t been cutting it for local stations. They need to embrace the digital tools unfolding around them or audiences will go around them.
Brian Solis posted yesterday about LiveNewsCameras.com, an online portal that allows users to watch raw, unedited video from more than 150 aggregated news feeds around the world, including networks like NBC and CBS. Local feeds can go global in an instant. As Solis noted:
What this really means, is that as in any form of social media, LiveNewsCameras can take a local voice or view and create an international audience for any story.
Raw feeds of the papal visit and the presidential candidates have been particularly appealing of late on the site. "Raw video" meaning news content without editors, commentators, chrion quips and the other contributions associated with a typical TV news cast.