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Archives: September 2009

Shelly Palmer’s MediaBytes

Video: Most Americans Oppose Online Tracking

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Teasing Actionable Components in ‘How To’ Stories

Good actionable information is a big part of most newscasts. Health and consumer stories are usually packed with specific tips that viewers can use to improve their daily lives. Problem is, many “how to” stories never really provide the viewer with truly actionable information. We tell viewers about that new breakthrough product to cure acne, but never empower them to actually use it. Too often the focus is on the medical procedure, as opposed to the viewer’s clearer complexion.

When teasing a “how to” story, I encourage you to find the “core motive.” The core motive is the true motivation behind a “how to” story. For example, the core motive behind a back-to-school shopping story would be “save me money.” A story about a new lawn fertilizer is not about grass. The core motive is “make the neighbors jealous.” The core motive taps into the most important priorities in our viewer’s lives: their families, houses, cars, health, appearance, etc. Every day we all spend hours making sure these vitally important things receive the care and attention they need. The goal of the core motive is to give viewers specific information that empowers them to improve their lives. It taps into the very best stuff that TV news has to offer –information that empowers people to accomplish more and better living.

Keep in mind this technique will not work with general information stories like crime, government, and breaking news. This technique is exclusively for “how to” stories.

The core motive is usually three words and starts with a verb. For example:

Save me time

Improve my health

Protect my family

Get me a raise

The promised information should empower viewers to TAKE ACTION. Your tease should do more than just describe the story. It should promise a solution. If you have fulfilled the core motive, you will explicitly tell the viewer how you will help them take action. It is an instruction manual for living better.

For example, it is not enough to say, “We’ll tell you about a new drug that cures baldness.” Both the story and the promo should promise to help viewers evaluate or obtain this drug. “We’ll tell you how much it costs, what questions to ask your doctor, and where the new drug is sold.”

Another example, “Find out about new construction delays as major renovation starts on interstate four.” This story is not about roads or construction, it’s about my commute. The tease should avoid mentioning paving, detours and planning. The core motive is “save me time and frustration.” If you have done your job right, your story will empower me to take some sort of action and save time on my drive into work. So the tease would be “we’ll show you the best ways to avoid this madness and get to work faster.” You will notice that the tease has fully fulfilled the core motive promise of “save me time and frustration.”

We are empowering our viewers to help themselves with specific information. Remember that “how to” stories should do just that. They should empower the viewer to take action. Make sure your story makes the final push across the goal line. Use your teases to promise the actionable information viewers will use to improve their lives.

Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at gnewell@602communications.com.

Univision Communications Opens Online Store

Multichannel

Yo Heart Novelas Making its initial foray into digital consumer commerce, Univision Communications has opened an online store proffering products tied to its three networks’ programming fare.

La Tienda Univision (The Univision Store), created in collaboration with Delivery Agent, Inc., can be accessed at www.tiendaunivision.com, where users can find fare based on programming on broadcast networks Univision and TeleFutura and cable cousing Galavision. To celebrate the launch, the Spanish-language media leader in the U.S. will give customers 15% off purchases of $50 or more for a limited time.

La Tienda Univision offers an array of products for adults, children, and even pets from some of the networks’ most popular programs. Univision, TeleFutura and Galavisin branded products, including watches, hooded sweatshirts, T-shirts, baseball caps, aprons, and many other items are also available for purchase.

In addition to branded products, viewers will have the opportunity to purchase CDs, DVDs, books and other products associated with Univision’s programs. More…

CBS Wins Premiere Week on Strength of ‘NCIS’ Franchise

The Los Angeles Times

NCIS-LA A record audience for “NCIS” and a second-place finish by its spinoff, “NCIS: Los Angeles,” which followed, helped CBS end ABC’s two-year winning streak for television’s premiere week.

CBS had nine of the 15 most-watched prime-time programs from Sept. 21 through Sunday and averaged 11.77 million viewers for its prime-time programming, becoming the only network to record an increase in viewership over last season’s premiere week, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co.

The seventh-season premiere of “NCIS” was the week’s most-watched program, averaging a series-high 20.6 million viewers. “NCIS: Los Angeles” was second for the week, with 18.73 million viewers. CBS also had the week’s second most-watched premiere, the Julianna Margulies-starring legal drama, “The Good Wife,” which won its 10-11 p.m. Tuesday time period and finished 15th for the week with 13.71 million viewers. More…

Dallas Community Newspapers Launch Daily Webcasts

Star Local News

Star Community Newspapers Webcast Reporter Christina Rowland takes a deep breath and positions herself in front of a swath of bright green fabric thumb-tacked to the wall of an empty office at Star Community Newspapers in Plano. She licks her teeth (it helps her smile appear more natural) and checks her wireless microphone. There’s no teleprompter in this make-shift news studio, so the broadcast she’s about to deliver is Scotch-taped to the video camera in front of her. In just a few hours, her suburban-centric mix of breaking news, sports scores and community features will be shot, edited and uploaded to the Web.

Why is a traditional ink-on-paper news outlet spending time and precious dollars on a Web-based newscast? Simple: the Web is a weekly newspaper’s ally. Instead of several days of lag-time before they get a breaking story in front of readers, reporters can start thinking in daily terms.

“If you’re not publishing a newspaper every day, by the time you cover a story it could be old news,” said Bill Weaver, publisher of Star Community Newspapers, which publishes the Carrollton Leader and 12 others across the North Dallas suburbs. Eleven newspapers have already launched a daily news webcast, and plans are underway to add the remaining markets in the coming weeks. More…

Fox News Finishes Q3 Far Ahead of Competitors

Broadcasting & Cable

Fox News logo Perennial cable news leader, Fox News Channel finished the third quarter 2009 up among total viewers and news’ target demographic of 25-54 year olds. FNC averaged 2.25 million total viewers in primetime (Monday through Sunday), for an uptick of 2% year-to-year, with 583,000 in the demo for a gain of 5%, according to Nielsen Media Research.

FNC was the third-ranked basic cable network among total viewers behind ESPN and USA. CNN came in at number 20 while MSNBC was 25th.

Led by “The O’Reilly Factor” (which averaged 3.3 million viewers), the network also had all ten of the top ten cable news programs among total viewers.

CNN finished the third quarter ahead of MSNBC in primetime among total viewers and the demo, topping MSNBC by 19% in total viewers (949,000 to 795,000) and 5% in the demo (288,000 to 275,000). MSNBC beat CNN in the primetime demo for the month of September averaging 284,000 viewers to CNN’s 245,000. More…

Fargo School Board Sets Controversial Media Rules After Mic Spat

InForum

Microphones On the heels of a school board meeting abruptly adjourned after a television microphone spat, the Breckenridge district announced a new set of rules for media attendance.

The rules, interim Superintendent Warren Schmidt said, seek to avert confusion, not to inconvenience reporters.

But Fargo-Moorhead television news directors expressed concern about the rules. They said the rules–from banning microphones on the desk at which board members are seated to requiring the media to give heads-up they’ll attend open meetings–will interfere with their work and go against the spirit of the state’s open meetings law.

“I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’m a guy who’s covered hundreds and hundreds of school board meetings,” said Jim Shaw, a news director at KVRR-TV, Fargo’s Fox affiliate. More…

The Shrinking World of Broadcast Television

The new TV Season is just getting underway, but already there are perennial warning signs of further, potentially deep erosion in the audience watching the biggest network shows. Over the most recent weekend, “Desperate Housewives” attracted 5.5 million fewer viewers for its Season Debut than cued up for the 2008 opener–and “Saturday Night Live”s debut also bombed compared to last year. Now, NBC was quick to point out that last year’s debut was boosted by Tina Fey and the Presidential Campaign. And Hollywood wags will speculate that “Desperate” may have jumped the shark, causing its plunge.

Defenders of the flame will point to stronger critical reviews of network programming, and some ratings exceptions like “Flash Forward” and “Grey’s Anatomy” on the first real Thursday night, September 24th. They will tell you that CBS and Fox were up (slightly) versus 2008 for the first week in A1849 (even though NBC, ABC and the CW were way, way down.) They will tell you that some top shows haven’t even debuted yet. They’ll tell you the weather is still nice and the busier-than-ever Americans haven’t fully settled in, following a later-than-usual Labor Day.

But check out this handy chart compiled by our friends at TVByTheNumbers:

TVByTheNumbers Chart

But consider this final indicator: in the first couple weeks of September, the #1 programs on broadcast and cable were NFL football games. And all of The Big Three have benefited from games in Prime, or games that spilled into Prime. While still early in a long season, this supports the growing opinion that “event programming” is the only way to stem the loss of audience to cable, the DVR and the internet.

Erik Sorenson is chief executive officer of Vault.com, Inc. He oversees the strategic direction of the global, New York-based media company, including ShopTalk & TVSPY. If you would like to comment on Remote Control, or want to reach Erik, email remotecontrol@tvspy.

By Extending Primetime, DVR Changes the Ratings Equation

Variety

DVR, remote TV’s fastest growing network isn’t a network at all — it’s the DVR.

Viewers significantly upped their DVR use during premiere week, helping to bolster sampling for several new series.

“This time of the year, the DVR is definitely a positive for the networks,” said CBS chief research officer David Poltrack. “In a world where it’s difficult to get your product sampled, the DVR is an enabler.”

According to premiere-week numbers, DVRs are actually extending primetime both earlier and later, which is good news for the nets. At least in week one, that means some viewers were consuming four or five hours of primetime fare a night instead of the usual three.

Over all, that may have contributed to the strong launches of several new shows — as frosh entries like “Glee,” “Modern Family” and “FlashForward” are all off to nice starts, and returnees “Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” are back with a vengeance. More…

After Partnering Up, Nielsen Can’t Stop Gushing About Facebook

Techcrunch

Tom Cruise jumping Last week, Nielsen and Facebook declared that they were “In A Relationship” together with a new product Nielsen is rolling out called BrandLift, which is supposed to measure brand awareness of ads on the social network with opt-in polls. Almost immediately after the two companies announced their strategic love affair, Nielsen started putting out glowing reports about Facebook and how much time people are spending on social networks.

Ads on social networks don’t perform as well as ads on other parts of the Web, but there’s tons of cheap inventory (i.e., pageviews), so advertisers don’t have much choice but to be there. Anything that can help justify their spending 119 percent more than last year on social network ads (Nielsen) is good for Facebook.

For instance, one Nielsen study found that found people at work spent more than seven times as many hours on social networking sites in 2008 than the year before, and that half of all online workers log onto Facebook at the office and spend more time there than on any other site (an average of 3 hours and 10 minutes per day). The message was clear: if you want to reach people online, you have to advertise on Facebook. More…

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