Local News Still Worth The Ad Spend

With so many options for our eyeballs, advertisers are scrambling to find the most popular platforms. But just because something glitters doesn’t necessarily mean… well, you know the rest. Some of the best platforms for delivering audiences to advertisers (and vice versa!) are the old ones – especially local TV news.

A 2014 Pew Research Center report states that local TV stations enjoyed “a year of higher revenue and slightly higher viewership in 2014. Viewership increased in two of the three key time slots following gains from the previous year.”1   You might find it surprising in a time where apps, smart phones and the internet are threatening to destroy everything you thought was permanent in terms of “old media” but, well, actually, old media is doing fairly well, thank you very much.  Viewership in 2014 increased slightly in morning and early evening slots with very early morning news doing amazingly well, increasing 6% from the year before.

Another boost to local TV news is political spending; according to Pew, “much of this is due to political advertising spending, which after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling seems to guarantee windfalls to local TV stations in even-numbered years. In 2014 total on-air ad revenue for local stations reached $20 billion, according to consulting firm BIA/Kelsey, up 7% from the year before and down 3% compared with 2012, the last election year.”1

Possibly the best research data that points to TV as still the most effective advertising medium is the Turner Broadcasting/Horizon Media/MarketShare report which analyzed thousands of marketing optimizations used by the major advertisers from 2009 through 2014.

Amongst the study’s findings:2

  • MarketShare analyzed advertising performance across industry and media outlets like television, online display, paid search, print and radio advertising and found that TV has the highest efficiency at achieving key performance indicators, or KPIs, like sales and new accounts. When comparing performance at similar spending levels, TV averaged four times the sales lift of digital.
  • TV has maintained its effectiveness at driving advertiser KPIs over the last five years. In a study using data from a luxury automaker, TV was the only medium to maintain its effectiveness (a 1.5 percent decrease in five years) while the other advertising media—both online and offline—declined more than 10 percent.
  • TV marketers can optimize their spend by leveraging data sources, including high-frequency consumer interactions like website visits and inbound calls, to improve TV advertising performance.
  • Premium online video from broadcast and cable networks out-performs video content from other publishers.


Local TV Ad Revenue Growth 2014
Local TV Ad Revenue Growth 2014










Chicago alone saw its five biggest TV stations grow their news programming, adding another 14 hours per week altogether in the past year. And lest you think it’s just Chicago, “In an era of increased competition for video viewers, you have to distinguish yourself a little more, and what distinguishes local stations is their news and information,” says Mark Fratrik, chief economist at BIA/Kelsey, a broadcast research and consulting firm in Chantilly, Va. It predicts local TV advertising revenue will rise 10 percent to $22.3 billion this year from $20.2 billion in 2015.3

According to Wingman Advertising, there are five reasons why TV advertising is still a hugely successful platform for reaching consumers: 4


  1. TV drives immediate responses.
  2. Local broadcasts are DVR-proof.
  3. Cable offers targeted advertising.
  4. Good commercials work.
  5. Programmatic TV is a game-changer


Local TV news – for now – isn’t going anywhere. And neither should your ad spend.


2 http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/why-tv-still-most-effective-advertising-medium-165247

3 http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160109/ISSUE01/301099993/why-chicago-tv-stations-are-adding-so-many-hours-of-news

4 http://www.wingmanadv.com/advantages-to-advertising-on-tv

News To Go – Roku’s Best News Channels

News To Go – Roku’s Best News Channels

Here’s a headline for you: Roku currently leads the way in the streaming media play market with 30% of the audience.1 Not only that, it is more powerful than its immediate competitors which include Google, Amazon and AppleTV. Roku has already acknowledged the importance of multiple streaming solutions, and added stick options that plug directly into your TV – and it’s tightening the screws on the competition by focusing on producing television software.2

The platform is host to over 2500 channels and streams both movies and TV series.3 But how well does Roku handle its news bundle? Their selection of news channels is huge – you can see them for yourself here https://channelstore.roku.com/browse/news-and-weather – and almost overwhelming in terms of what to subscribe to. We picked a few that stand out as the best and here they are – in no particular order.


Newsy is free and gives you “news with the why” – a series of snackable video news and analysis. Their claim is that they do it all without the bias of your average news channel. Give it a shot and figure out for yourself if Newsy is for you; their claim that they deliver critical context from multiple sources to help you understand a story is a unique one.

Sky News

It’s free. It’s British. It’s live 24/7 and we’re proud to say, a Bitcentral customer. Sky also provides live broadcasts for the UK, the US and Canada. If you’re not watching live when news breaks, Sky offers cached feeds that allow you to catch up when its most convenient for you. And don’t worry about the British localization; they cover pretty both American and International news stories so you’ll get a well-rounded approach to the day’s headlines.

Free Speech TV

This channel is now over 20 years old. It was launched in 1995 and encourages viewers to become more civically engaged. It’s independent, publicly-supported and non-profit.

CBS All Access

This package runs at $6 per month, giving the viewer access to all CBS programming alongside an on-demand library that contains over 2,000 titles. In an interesting move that speaks volumes as to future distribution strategies, in 2017 CBS All Access will be the exclusive home to the new Star Trek series.3

Bloomberg TV+

The big selling point is here is the extensive collection of videos that cover stories in the business world. Bloomberg videos are well organized and include key segments from shows like With All Due Respect and Charlie Rose. Bloomberg TV+ draws upon a huge international news bureau network with 146 bureaus in 72 countries.

Sling TV

Another subscription service, Sling TV charges $20 per month but provides over 20 big broadcast and cable channels including CNN.

Roku has all shapes and sizes when it comes to news channels. They also offer up: Ashanti News Network; AOL On; NowThis News; Red State Talk Radio; The Lip TV; Time; TMZ; MSNBC and even the Onion News Network. Roku also offers a huge variety of local news channels. There are too many to list here but you can look at them: http://mkvxstream.blogspot.com/2014/05/news-roku-local-and-regional-news.html

There are so many news channels to choose from so we suggest you take your time to build your own network from within the Roku platform. It’s entirely possible to get as many views as possible on any given subject with the breadth of choice Roku offers.




Header Image Courtesy and Copyright Roku.

The Five Best Local News Apps of 2016

News apps are big news. Smartphones – and some smart apps – have allowed news junkies the never-ending ability to click on the latest headlines. According to StepLeader, a mobile tech company, more than one in four surveyed adult US smartphone users have a local news app installed.1

The TV is still the top destination for getting local news but the local news app is second – beating both the local TV’s website and the local newspaper’s website. According to StepLeader, among people with a local news app, 36% claimed to watch local TV news seven or more times in the week prior to the survey.

The study also reveals that local news app users are both well educated and affluent as well as older; 62% were between the ages of 30 and 60. The three biggest uses of the news app include breaking news (40%), local news (26%) and weather (22%).

Another study is equally as illuminating.  CNN reports on research from Localytics that shows “mobile users spend roughly the same amount of time with news apps as they do with Twitter…about 115 minutes per month.”2 A news app, while expensive to develop, can reap dividends for the news channel paying for it via advertising.

So what are some of the best local news apps? Here are some we recommend (in no particular order):

ABC 7 Los Angeles

Southern Californians can grab their local news as well as national and international at the drop of a button. It’s also part of a suite of apps on offer – and all free. Included in the suite are the aforementioned Los Angeles app – which also works on your Apple Watch, the MegaDoppler Weather app, and the Watch ABC app (which allows you to watch ABC shows).

CBS Local

CBS uses a one-size fits all approach with their app. You can select your city to help personalize the app for local news/weather. They offer personalization in 24 major US locations and you can live-stream audio and watch video broadcasts. Interestingly, the app features Nielsen’s audience measurement software which means you can contribute to their market research.


A broadcaster-operated news service that harnesses content from 118 stations in 90 markets. Users get a free, ad-supported app that provides live and on-demand local newscasts and local news clips.

AP Mobile

The Associated Press have their own award-winning app available for smartphone and tablet. Raved about by the New York Times (“If you like your news comprehensive you’ll want AP Mobile”), it gives you local and national stories as well as local stories from over 1,000 regional news sources.

News6 Orlando

WKMG in Orlando has gotten into the app game in a big way. Their free downloads include an app for news, an app for storm tracking, an app for hurricane tracking, an app for Storm Pins, and an app for local sports.

The following chart shows the additional news apps used by people in the US (in 2013), courtesy of Statista. 3


The Most Used News + Journalism Apps - Bitcentral
The Most Used News + Journalism Apps – 2013, Statista.com




Looking up to hybrid cloud

Have you read this article by Philip Hunter on Broadcast Engineering about the hybrid cloud models and digital content storage?

In enterprise computing, the hybrid cloud model is becoming popular through outsourcing of front-end application components to take advantage of scale economies, while keeping the back-end data securely on the premise. In pay TV, there is increasing talk of hybrid clouds too, but with a big difference. In this case, the valuable data — audio-video content — is usually provided by third parties and delivered to end customers, so there is no question of keeping it on the operator’s premises for security purposes. Storage was first to be outsourced, enabling operators to save money by concentrating it in their own server farms for economies of scale, which also improved quality of service and reduced support costs resulting from failing hard disks. Front-end applications associated with the User Interface (UI) were at first still run in the home, although recently some Telcos, such as Deutsche Telekom, have been looking at taking the UI into the cloud as well.

Even those Telcos though will still retain some physical presence in the home, even if is just in the form of an HDMI dongle that slots into a TV. It is my bet that having shrunk down to its bare essentials, the CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) box will expand again as it starts to cater for a new breed of non-TV applications in the home, associated with monitoring, surveillance and eventually remote healthcare. If existing pay TV or broadband operators do not provide these, somebody else will — maybe the local energy utility. In the UK, British Gas is already looking at how it can capitalize on its status as supplier of both gas and electricity in many cases to offer energy management services and will then be well placed to compete in other sectors of the smart home if it so chooses.

There is no doubt though that the bulk of digital content storage will migrate to the cloud, once rights issues have been resolved. It is likely home gateways will retain some storage to satisfy those consumers feeling more comfortable holding at least personal photos and home videos on site, just like enterprises keeping sensitive data locally. But the cloud will be the place for most stored content, because evolving storage architectures will make it possible to optimize robustness with performance and cost so much more effectively there. The capex and opex costs associated with CPE are then greatly reduced, while operators can scale capacity in line with demand for each subscriber quite seamlessly across a whole storage farm. There is no need to endure costly upgrades to home set tops or gateways, while new service options can be deployed much faster in the cloud.

There are still some caveats, content rights being one. In some markets, such as the USA, operators are still required to hold separate instances of each piece of recorded content for every subscriber when they are granted rights for cloud storage. This is a legal requirement to avoid operators appearing to be retransmitting rather than storing content, but is ludicrous given that it logically makes no difference whether content is played out to users from a common store or their own personal one. Keeping separate copies of content for each user certainly slashes the capex savings associated with network storage and is a legacy burden that will surely wither away over the next year or two.

The set-top or home gateway then is likely to migrate from being a storage-intensive device into one with extra processing capability and increasingly packed with interfaces to support an expanding array of protocols required for the evolving digital home.