Allison Romano of Broadcasting & Cable has written an article so enlightening, it should be posted in every newsroom in the free world. It's not that broadcast outlets aren't aware of the changing media landscape, but the terrain is shifting so quickly, only the most agile affiliates will keep from losing their footing. From B&C:
Twenty-nine percent of Americans say they go online regularly for news, up from virtually zero a decade ago, according to the Pew Research Center. The migration has caused tectonic shifts across media sectors, shrinking the audience for TV news—both national and local—and sending shockwaves through the newspaper industry, which has seen readership tumble sharply in the past decade. According to the Pew study, 71% of adults 18-29 say they get their news online, yet only 46% say they regularly watch local TV news. In the early 1990s, 75% of Americans said they watched local news.
From 75% to 46% in only fifteen years. If that ain't proof local TV news is on the decline, I'll sell my closet full of station logowear (just kidding, Karen!). But as grim as these numbers are, the future can be made brighter by just a click and a drag...
By 2009, more than 70 million Americans are expected to have high-speed Internet access, according to Kagan Research. As technology improves and more people upgrade to broadband services—an ideal environment for video clips—TV stations think they have an edge. Thirty-second video clips and exclusive Web programs are certain to beat the competition, they say. “TV stations have assets to gather news 24/7,” says station adviser Seth Geiger of consulting firm SmithGeiger. “Now they need to take advantage of delivering news 24/7.”
Easier said than done. Since the inception of the test pattern, TV stations have centered their efforts around the morning, noon and evening news. To give away the goods before airtime is tantamount to treason. But with movies coming to cell phones, fresh reruns available on video iPods and a globe teeming with splenetic bloggers, the very idea of 'airtime' will soon seem as archaic as well, VCR's. And who remembers those?
UPDATE! Via Lost Remote, a pithy, dead-on riff from someone named 'Rocker', on the original B&C article:
"In fact, for 90% of the people in a typical TV station building, this whole 'internet thing' is something they're still in their heart-of-hearts hoping will go away, or at least be handled by 'somebody else' at the station. Maybe the web-geek or two we have off in that old converted closet downstairs will take care of it all, so we can continue to pretend the world revolves around producing a series of OTO 'shows' every day. The consciousness level is rising, but at a rate that is so slow that I still really think it's a race to see whether most TV stations will survive. The ad marketplace is reaching an inflection point fairly soon now, and from a pure bottom line perspective, this industry is not ready. Real pain (revenue/margin) is right around the corner now."
Someone get that man a towel...