Friday, January 16, 2009

Broadcast Media Will Continue to See Significant Changes in 2009

Niche is the new normal, especially for broadcast. Due to the proliferation of social media sites, people are more likely to subscribe or search for news and information specifically targeting their interests. As Portfolio magazine says: “There's something for everyone, but nothing for everyone.” This will make it difficult for marketers to reach broad audiences, with only a few events each year – like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards – that reach across demographics and interest groups. In fact, that’s why Birnbach Communications predict that Jan. 20th will be the single biggest media event this year – everyone will cover the Obama inauguration.

Increasingly, people will access TV shows with their computers as opposed to watching the shows when they air. For example, there were 1.4 million viewers of the Couric-Palin interview on YouTube and more than 4 million of the SNL skit – that’s the power of YouTube and NY Times’ David Pogue already suggested consumers could save money by disconnecting cable, and logging onto the Internet instead to get network feeds and local news coverage.

Local cable/TV operators will have a bumpy road because of a significant double whammy: Both advertisers and viewers are fleeing. Local broadcasters will need to find a way to cut costs – which means more layoffs – while stemming the tide of departing viewers. One way may be to follow the lead of NBC, which realized that airing the new Jay Leno show five nights a week at 10pm is cheaper than airing five original 60-minute dramas (even with Jay’s $30 million salary). Local TV may find that whatever time they have can be best/inexpensively filled by talk shows.

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