State of Local Media 2016

Published on Oct 19th, 2016

by Gloria Stitt

This week I presented The State of Local Media from a social perspective, to a small group of Local Media TV folks representing some of the largest groups in the business.  The dialogue was thought provoking.  Here are some highlights:

State of Local Media

We focused social performance for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (the 3 main platforms for this vertical) and discovered some interesting insights.

Total actions on video content increased by +35% out performing total actions from January – September 2016 vs PY.

Local TV is producing 45% of their total content on Facebook and driving 96% of total actions on it! (vs National TV which produces 41% of content on Facebook and drove 57% of total Actions.)  This is mainly due to National TV growing their audience and increasing more engagement on Instagram – that is a topic in and of itself.

While Local TV represents a huge portion of content on social especially video content; Local Newspapers had the highest growth in both total actions +26%,  and Video actions +379% vs PY.

What does this all mean?

When diving further into the local universe (TV, Newspaper, Radio) the data suggests that while Local TV is still dominant, Local Newspapers are leveraging social very aggressively.  As the chart below shows, Local Newspapers have increased their content by +70%; this increase in content has been carefully thought out with tremendous focus on Video content (both Native and live).  Though Local Radio has had the largest increase in content, they continue to focus on memes and photos of celebrity interviews, concerts and not as much on video content (but I suspect not for long).

What kind of Content do Local TV audiences want?

There is for sure a science to knowing precisely the right time, cadence and type of content that should be produced.  It starts with understanding what even makes content shareable.  The results vary depending on sex and age.  There are some core things an audience looks for though; Social Currency (makes them look good, look intelligent, appear in the know, connected to the community, for example). Content that evokes an emotion is useful in context and tells a story.  Those things vary slightly by sex as illustrated here:

So now balance that with being a news organization that needs to manage multiple tasks such as:

Use social to Drive traffic to a website

Monetize website

Deliver news

Drive tune in

Increase ratings

Putting together content truly is a balance of art & science; a mix of water cooler and news/information.  It is a difficult balance especially when trying to maintain brand loyalty.  Here is the good news; Local TV has a ton of content to work with.  More and more they are creating video content and really diving into Facebook Live video to drive activity.  The key with live video here is not do a highly produced video - it’s about really showing your viewers you are in the moment and there on the spot; all you need is a cell phone.

Also, remember – telling a story is so important; stories help your audience feel connected to community, they spark an emotion and this will prompt sharing and commenting.

So what are the Key takeaways?

The analytics show that video is almost 3x’s more likely to be shared amongst brands and it outpaces other content types in terms of content creation as well as overall engagement.  Live video continues to gain momentum creating an experience that helps their audiences feel more connected to their communities.  Finally, the fact is video actions increased 35% on Local Media content outperforming actions on other content.  If you haven’t joined the video game perhaps it’s time to take the plunge.  Be smart, study the market, benchmark yourself against competitors and the industry and know your audience.

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