Friday, November 17, 2006

Channel 7 Nike Evening News brought to you by Adidas

In a recent “Tech-Watch” podcast on iTunes, I learned the unsurprising fact that TiVo is turning commercials on TV into an optional and often obsolete b-side of the evening news. Many people who have TiVo or PVR (Personal Video Recording) devices most likely aren’t watching the evening news live and when they play it back at a time that’s more convenient, it’s safe to assume that many people use the fast-forward feature to skip through commercials.

It’s understandable that when someone only has a limited amount of time each evening, he or she is more interested in current events and not the latest from Kraft.

And because of TiVo and PVR, the advertising time slots are not selling to advertisers at a rate fast or high enough to keep many local news stations from keeping ad sponsorships out of the newscast. If you’re tired of hearing an anchor tell you to stay tuned for the weather “brought to you by Toyota”, can you imagine the evening news reaching a point where anchors are telling you “we now go live to the White House brought to you by Covergirl.”

Who’s to blame? We want high-quality news content, stations that can afford live trucks, helicopters and enough reporters to stay on the edge of breaking news regardless of what time or area of town in which it’s happening.

But with TiVo decreasing the value of prime-time advertising slots (as advertisers are unwilling to pay for a slot that’s being skipped over by 35% of all viewers), that money is costing some local news stations that rely on a steady income from their marketing department.

Viewers want uninterrupted content but prefer not to pay for it. News stations need to sell their advertising slots so they can advertise at commercial breaks and not as frequently during the newscast with cheesy anchor-promos. There’s no solution - at least nothing definite yet.



At Saturday, November 18, 2006, Anonymous al said...

I'm still in the cave era of watching TV when it's available. Moving to Chicago for Medill reduced me to a TV with no cable, no VHS and no DVD. Therefore, no TiVo either.

I don't know what the numbers are, but I would guess that the percentage of viewers with TiVo-like capabilities are still low, although that may change very quickly in the future. In which case, the point you brought up is very interesting and I'm not sure what measures news stations will turn to to compensate for the loss of ad revenue. Unfortunately, I would be pessimistic to say it may affect quality content and time.


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