Not only have local television stations avoided being made obsolete in the 21st Century they have leveraged social media to make their success happen. This is a win-win for social media and the local television affiliates.
Not long ago the Internet and social media in particular were being named the eventual killers of television. Instead what has happened is a complete 180 degree turn when it comes to the profit-loss statements of local television statements.
Instead of killing them, social media saved them.
How Did This Happen?
You might wonder how social media managed to save local television when it seemed so ready to replace it. Easy. using social media allowed television stations to re-connect with the audience. This was the cause of their revenue decline, not social media. Advertisers were turning away from television because viewers were not showing up. By participating in social media, engaging with their viewing audience, they were able to recapture their viewing audience, thereby becoming relevant once again.
So? What’s In It For Me?
That’s a fair question. Maybe you can’t leverage the type of publicity a television station can when it comes to getting yourself noticed in social media circles. So? By staying the course, utilizing the abundance of free tools and techniques available to you, you can definitely make a difference on your bottom line.
Don’t look at what television stations have done and say, “I wish I could do that.”
Instead you need to say, “I can do that too.”
After a few years of tough times, many local TV stations are roaring back with higher margins and more newscasts. But have TV stations taken the economic turbulence to heart and embraced innovation in a new media world?
“Our view was that local broadcasting had gone on autopilot,” said Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting (right). Industrywide, he said, newscasts had “become sort of commoditized and formulaic — arguably in many cases irrelevant.”
Gannett execs told the NY Times that the difficult economy has helped motivate its stations to rethink how to connect with viewers. “(It) helped us put our focus more on the customer,” said Lynn Beall, the president and general manager of KSDK, who explains that social media has been key to community outreach.
Local TV has certainly ramped up its adoption of social media — 92% of TV stations use Facebook and/or Twitter, a recent survey found. “There appears to have been a shift in the last year from using social media primarily as a promotional tool to using it heavily — if not primarily — to have conversations with the audience,” explained Bob Papper, who oversaw the research.
Meanwhile, local TV has adjusted to cost pressures by centralizing operations and embracing more “multimedia journalists” who shoot, write and edit their own stories. “We have more people gathering content than we did a year ago, because more people are trained on more platforms,” Beall said. While many in the industry have despised “one man bands” for reducing quality, the multi-platform focus yields more coverage on TV websites and social media channels.
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