Local TV News

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

9 May 2018

Local TV news dead? Not by a long shot.

Here’s something I’ve never really considered when it comes to the streaming revolution. Cutting the cord might actually become a boon to your local TV news.

At least that’s what Nielsen reports, saying 51% of video streamers watch local TV news on their devices. Additionally, 43% say they watch on an app for local news instead of simply logging onto a website.

Can streaming actually save local news?

Right now, the cable news networks (CNN, FOX News, MSNBC) rule the airwaves when it comes to most relevance. They stand as the affirmations of your current political beliefs.

local tv newsBut local news gets a hit with a Mookie Betts bat on the airwaves, knocking them out of the park. Local newspapers are dying with only a handful of the national papers (The New York Times, Washington Post) creating any kind of traffic.

But the local news hour (or half hour or even 90 minutes for some) has fallen in terms of relevance. Per a 2017 study by Nielsen, the average broadcast audience for late night newscasts drops 31% in the last decade. Morning news drops 12% in that span and early evening news 19%.

“Watching local TV news on your tablet, phone, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV means we still want local headlines. It’s just the way we consume them is different. Google Play even sports an app called NewsON, which shows your local TV news broadcasts.”

What streaming means for local TV news stations

That, though, simply signifies that fewer people are watching broadcast television. However, it turns out local news still outshines cable TV news when you factor in streaming.

Who knew?

What this says is that regular broadcast television is becoming less and less relevant. That’s not a profound bit of information. We all know – and use – streaming services and apps are taking over the industry. (Netflix, for example, counts 118 million subscribers and a programming budget of more than $8 billion, if you need any proof.)

local tv newsWatching local TV news on your tablet, phone, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV means we still want local headlines. It’s just the way we consume them is different. Google Play even sports an app called NewsON, which shows your local TV news airings.

What this means for local stations is that they must adapt to the new normal. Their streaming content must improve. A lot of it is pretty shoddy right now. But what about streaming-only options? Subscriber fees are probably out of the question, but ad buys are funneling to streaming content. Continually updated content would also be nice.

Local TV news dead? Not by a long shot.

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