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TV Trends

Do Viewers Watch What They Say They Watch?

tv_304The Atlantic reports that viewers who say they want hard news and in-depth reporting are really telling you they want Kim Kardashian and videos of a cat sitting in a green chair for two minutes.

The Atlantic looked at a 2014 Reuters Institue study asking thousands of people across several different countries what news was most important to them. The US respondents said they most wanted national, local, economic and political news. But when Buzzfeed released a review of traffic on its partners sites including The New York Times, The Atlantic and their own site, what they saw was a very different story.

According to that review, the only news events that made the list of the 20 most viral stories across the sites were the Miss America Pageant, an announcement by Netflix and the Video Music Awards. The rest of the list was dominated by stories like “8 Foods We Eat In The US That Are Banned in Other Countries” and “30 Signs You’re Almost 30.”

Ask audiences what they want, and they’ll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they’ll mostly eat candy.

Audiences are liars, and the media organizations who listen to them without measuring them are dupes. At the Aspen Ideas Festival last year, Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of international operations for Al Jazeera America, shared survey data suggesting that 40 to 50 million people were desperate for in-depth and original TV journalism. Nine months later, it averaged 10,000 viewers per hour—1.08 percent of Fox News’ audience and 3.7 percent of CNN. AJAM, built for an audience of vegetarians, is stuck with a broccoli stand in a candy shop. Read more

Weather and Crime: It’s What They’re Watching in Milwaukee

tv_304Milwaukee Journal Sentinel TV critic Duane Dudek watched the first 10 minutes of his local stations’ newscasts then broke each down into five categories of what they reported: violent crime, other crime, weather and accidents.

All stations aired variations of the same stories Monday night, but in different order and with different running times. All stations’ lead story involved the night’s frisky storm front and footage of a Nebraska tornado. Other stories included discovery of human remains at N. 13th St. and W. Juneau Ave.; increased police presence after a shooting at a convenience store, and interviews with the young girl injured in the shooting; and several traffic accidents.

The stations came out heavily weighted towards violent crime. According to Dudek, FOX affiliate WITI won the night and also led the other stations in violent crime reporting with 50.5 percent of its first ten minutes devoted to the subject. Connection? Who knows. Interesting? You bet.

WDJT-TV (Channel 58)

Violent crime: 45.6%

Other crime: 11.8%

Weather: 11.1%

Accidents: 6.8%

Other: 23.8%

Followed by: 2-minute, 44-second weather segment

Story no one else had: School drug-testing policy

Lead story after weather: Human remains found

See the other stations after the jump. Read more

What Do Young Viewers Want from TV News?

During last week’s TVNewser Show and Media Job Fair, mediabistroTV took the opportunity to ask young viewers what they wanted from TV news.

While some answers were straight out of the “Targeting Millenials Playbook” a few of the answers might surprise you. Watch the video.

Former Anchor Richard Brown Warns Reporters To Be Careful When Reporting on Crime

brownandjoeWhile speaking at a business event in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, former local and network TV anchor Richard Brown (pictured right with KGO co-anchor Terilyn Joe) had some advice for journalists on reporting crime in the community.

The Battleford’s News-Optimist reports the city was named “Canada’s crime capital” in a CTV News report the night before Brown spoke. A local resident asked the former KGO, WCBS and KXLY anchor how his town could get more balanced coverage from the media.

Brown said the root of what appears to be unfair reporting has two causes, the way the story is told and what he said was the media’s “Watergate mindset,” looking for the bad story underneath the good.

Brown encouraged the community to look for the good news to give to reporters, “whether it is an anti-bullying story, whether it is stories about having communities coming together, because it’s easy for reporters to find the bad news. What you have to do is hand them the good news.”

“You can make the numbers say anything you want,” he said.

“If you’ve got three guys who commit 15 B and Es, that’s not a crime wave. That’s three idiots committing 15 B and Es, but the numbers show up like 15 B and Es.” Read more

WCCB Turns to Sports After Switch to CW

WCCB_CW_logoWCCB, the Charlotte station that lost its FOX affiliation in July, may be looking to local sports teams to help it carve out an identity, the Charlotte Business Journal reports.

The CW affiliate’s general manager Jim White told the CBJ the station is currently in talks with the Charlotte Knights but hasn’t reached an agreement to air the minor league team’s games. The Triple-A team for the MLB’s Chicago White Sox will move into a new stadium next season.

The station hopes to carve out a new identity, in part, by aligning with local sports teams. WCCB started a three-year contract in August to show the home games of the new UNC Charlotte football team. To date, the 49ers games have generated ratings and audiences three to four times larger than what the station anticipated, White says.

White said WCCB would like to air a limited schedule of marquee Knights’ games.

The Bahakel owned WCCB lost its FOX affiliation after FOX made its newly acquired station WJZY one of its O&O’s.

[TVNewsCheck]

Pew: 71% of U.S. Adults Watch Local News

pew tv news viewingA new Pew study finds that 71% of American adults watch the local news over the course of a month, more than the 65% that watch network newscasts and the 38% that watch cable news.

Related, TVNewser: There Are More People Who Watch Both MSNBC and Fox News Than You Think

People who watch local news average about 12.3 minutes a day, compared to 12.4 minutes for network newscasts and 25.3 minutes for cable newscasts. Pew also finds the local news audience is highest during the 11 p.m. newscasts, which draws about 15% more viewers than the 5 to 7 p.m. block. The early-morning newscasts (6 to 7 a.m.) get about 60% of the viewership that the late newscast does.

The study was performed analyzing Nielsen research data from February 2013. Read the entire report here. [h/t Jim Romenesko]

No Complaints Over Radio Station’s ‘Hottest News Chicks in San Diego’ Contest

hottest_sandiegoSan Diego radio station Channel 933 has been running an online contest to crown the “Hottest News Chicks in San Diego.”

Already four rounds in, the contest is down to semi-finalists Heather Ford (pictured upper left) from FOX affiliate KSWB, last year’s winner KSWB meteorologist Aloha Taylor (pictured lower left), Sabrina Fein (lower right) meteorologist from CW affiliate XETV and Brandi Williams (upper right) from independent station KUSI.

The contrast is provided by Maine radio station WDEA which ran a similar contest called “Who is the Hottest Newswoman in Maine” in July based on the same concept. Pictures of reporters and anchors from various local stations were posted to the station’s website and radio station listeners and local TV viewers were invited to vote for their favorite.

WDEA was forced to post an apology on its page and change the name of the contest to “Who is Your Favorite Newswoman in Maine” after the news director and a reporter from WLBZ and WCSH condemned the contest as demeaning.

In San Diego? In its first year in 2011, the 933 DJ’s hosting the contest, Frankie V and “Geena the Latina,” appeared on NBC owned station KNSD to promote the contest. [see the video here] Last year, KSWB posted the poll on its facebook page and asked viewers to “Take a moment and vote for your favorite Fox 5 lady.”

Read more

‘And Another Thing!’ Milwaukee TV Writer’s List of 11 Annoying Things About TV News

TV_static_plugMilwaukee Journal Sentinel media writer Duane Dudek has channeled his inner grumpy old man and released his list of 11 things that annoy him most about TV News.

So grab a coffee, take a deep breath and see if you’re guilty of any of these. For the record, this TVSpy writer admits to overusing number nine.

Here’s the list. Now get off my lawn!

Pump Patrol: Let me see if I understand this correctly — I should waste gas driving across town to save a few pennies when I buy more gas?

Traffic reports: Thanks, but if I’m watching, I’m already home.

Handoffs: Scripted back-and-forth transitions in which one studio anchor reads one sentence and another studio anchor reads the next sentence, and so on. This dramatic device gives the impression of a performance being given. Read more

STUDY: Local TV News Gets Americans Talking

A recent TVB study shows local TV news is three times more likely than online media to start a conversation among Americans.

“The American Conversation” study asked participants about the details of over 9,000 online and offline conversations in April 2013. The study showed 55% of all “News of the Day” conversations were sparked by television, while online media started just 18%.

Local broadcast television delivers the news that feeds most of these conversations, with 82% of people talking daily about Weather, 75% about National or International News, 63% about Local News, 49% about Sports and 42% about Traffic.  And when it comes to discussing Products and Services, advertising seen on Local Broadcast News is 30% more likely to spark or inform those conversations than that seen on Cable News.

“Despite the belief that young people have disengaged with watching news, young adults claim that Local Broadcast News content drives a higher percentage of their daily conversations than most other television genres – more than Cable News, Sports, and even Primetime programming,” said Stacey Lynn Schulman, chief research officer of the TVB.

The study also said that 77% of daily conversations take place face-to-face as apposed to online (8%).

‘It’s a Free Over The Air Signal’: Diller Defends Aereo at D11 Conference

Speaking at the D11 executive conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, IAC founder and chairman Barry Diller defended his new venture Aereo as a way to open up what he says is a closed system. Sitting next to CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, Diller explained his motives for being the primary backer behind the technology, “I don’t want to go beat up broadcasters. I want to help move the centricity from fixed line or satellite closed systems to open internet systems. That’s what my interest is.”

But when asked by the moderator what he thought about the service, Zucker told Diller, “I think the key thing is that Broadcasters are going to continue to want to be paid for their intellectual property,” said Zucker. “If you’re offering that in a way that they’re not going to get paid for it I think that’s the issue.”

Diller’s Aereo technology allows subscribers to record over the air broadcast stations for $8.00 a month. The reason Aereo is so controversial is that it does so without paying broadcasters for the right to retransmit their content. Read more

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