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While pundits point to online and mobile media as carving away local broadcast TV’s share, TVB President Steve Lanzano points out that online and mobile have actually worked to help local TV increase its consumption numbers. With the new age of digital TV and TV content re-broadcast online and on mobile, consumers are actually discovering new content and then shifting back to their TV sets, which have larger screens. HDTV has also had an impact since it delivers a picture that is clear and sharp unlike viewing online or on a small mobile screen. Lanzano points out that “57.7 percent of homes have HD-capable TV sets while 51.7 percent of homes actually subscribe to HD programming.”

The bigger change agent, according to Lanzano, will be mobile because it will allow users to access local broadcast content wherever and whenever they want. In fact TVB is reporting that 88 percent of consumers polled said watching local news media is driving their mobile viewing. The real potential, says Lanzano, “is the ability to have more transparency in who is watching, when they are watching and where they are watching mobile programming.”

Much like online radio, new technology is coming out that allows more customization of programming and scheduling that is personalized to the consumer. A new service called Sezmi provides not only local media offerings, but also allows users to customize the content they want to watch, including YouTube and online video as well as on-demand content, all for a low $20 monthly fee. Other services by NetFlix are also directly competing with local broadcast and altering how people view and watch TV.

The TVB recommends local stations take advantage and own the hyperlocal shift by implementing the following:

  • Making mobile TV beyond news and adding additional utility to local consumers and advertisers
  • Program to compete with cable using HD subchannels that meet local needs
  • Develop the best local mobile site
  • Seek ways to leverage e-mail marketing, which is a great untapped opportunity
  • Create hyperlocal shopping sites with deep content and match it with offers and coupons to drive action
  • Do not overlay broadcast model on the mobile offering

Lanzano concluded that “viewership is shifting to the anytime, anywhere medium focused on local and who better to own hyperlocal than local stations who have embraced the new technology to make HD programming and mobile TV a reality for their stations?”

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