TelevisionWhen we look at the hyperlocal news landscape, we tend to mostly talk about independent online publishers, local experiments by legacy newspapers, hyperlocal networks from large media companies, and smaller upstart networks working with new models.

But we talk a whole lot less about the online outlets of local television stations. The reason is pretty simple: Most of them aren’t doing anything particularly interesting in hyperlocal.

The key reason why TV stations aren’t moving aggressively into this space isn’t because they can’t be successful. From a scale and marketing perspective, they probably have the best opportunity to quickly own any individual hyperlocal market in the country. ...

“The original magic of broadcasting was that it covered a large geographic area,” said Kent Collins, chairman of the radio-television journalism faculty at the Missouri School of Journalism. But these days the opportunity is in hyperlocal, and the moment demands that TV stations do something to that end.

“The magic may be the curse,” he said. In this case, the curse is that current success inhibits innovation. “Still with profit margins running from 25% to almost 50%… despite the slow recovery from the recession, there is little financial reason to think differently,” added Collins, who, like me, is a fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

The majority of stations aren’t staffed to cover their hyperlocal communities — and doing so would require investment. But the staffing problem isn’t just about content. Collins rightly pointed out that most TV station sales reps couldn’t imagine living off the commission garnered from selling to hyperlocal advertisers. ...

Read the rest of Matt's blog at Streetfight

Matt (Sokoloff) Broffman  
Residential fellow


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