Does Local TV News Get You Talking?

According to a new study, 55% of all “News of the Day” conversations were sparked by local broadcast news, while online media only triggered 18%. As a former local journalist, I am both thrilled and somewhat surprised by this statistic. In recent years, the television business has been hit hard.  Audiences are shrinking. Demographics are graying. And social media has made the breaking news race nearly impossible to win. So is local broadcast news really the top driver of watercooler talk? Conducted by TVB, the study asked more than 2,000 American adults 18+ to detail more than 9,000 online and offline conversations in April 2013. According to the findings, “local broadcast television delivers the news that feeds most of these conversations with 82% of people talking daily about Weather, 75% about National and International News, 63% about Local News, 49% about Sports and 42% about Traffic.”

At first glance these results seem to signal a shift in the way young adults consume news, but upon closer examination, they really just reaffirm what local TV broadcasters have known all along. First, weather has always been and will likely always be the number one reason for watching. Secondly, viewers like feeling connected to their communities and while technology makes it easier to report national and international news, local reporters and producers will always seek out an angle that will resonate with their market. And finally, local broadcast outlets are getting smarter about the way they disseminate news. At this point, nearly all local stations have a website, a mobile site and an app.  By distributing their content across a wide range of platforms, broadcast outlets are making it easier for loyal and younger viewers to stay informed and connected throughout the day.  It also allows the most-trusted stations in the market to maintain their status as news leaders and capitalize on the brand equity they’ve built for years.

So what does all this mean when it comes to strengthening your company’s media footprint?  Don’t count local TV news out. Young adults are still watching.  Instead, look to create a broad media strategy consisting of broadcast and print coverage on a national, trade and local level.

Contributed by Media Account Supervisor Christine Williamson. Follow her on Twitter: @ChristineDBW.