2007: The Battle for Local Supremacy

Here is the latest in the on-going series of essays that I call “TV News in a Postmodern World.” This is my annual look ahead, and what I see is “2007: The Battle for Local Supremacy.”

You’ll be reading lots of prophecies for the coming year, because that’s what observers do as the holidays approach. There are so many trends upon us that to do the subject justice would require a book, but it would likely be out-of-date in a month. Consequently, I’ve narrowed it down to three big trends that I see and for which we should be prepared — an increasingly intense battle for local ad dollars between local media companies and outside internet pure play companies, the web becoming more video-centric, and the rush by stations to self-reliance and away from third-party web providers.

Of these, the first is clearly the most significant, and I think it has to be accompanied by an awakening by local media companies that the online local community IS a real community. The internet isn’t just a tool used by community people to draw information from, for example, the broadcast world. It’s a community unto itself, and this is one of the secrets to doing business there. The pure-plays know this, and more local media companies are going to need to have this revelation for us to really be competitive.


  1. Terry, as usual, interesting, provocative insights.

    I do believe there will be a mitigating factor for local television stations as new technologies allow for the creation of new communities. Political advertising will, for the foreseeable future, allow local stations to reduce the stormy waters from turbulent to choppy. I realize political advertising is, at best, an ever-other-year revenue stream. But given the amount of money spent on television this year in an “off-year” election, one can only surmise that political dough is not going away anytime soon.

    Certainly counting on anything political is always dangerous. But I do believe you will find some broadcasters that find comfort in the status-quo will also find an every-other year windfall keeping their comfort level at least tolerable.

  2. Good point, Randy, but here’s the wildcard. The Massachusetts governor’s race proved the power of the web, and more and more politicos are experimenting with the new medium. Like the automotive industry is learning, the web is a very effective way to reach buyers, and I think you’re going to see more and more dollars moving in the years ahead.

    I don’t think this will be a major issue in 2008, but it’s a crap shoot after that.

  3. thedetroitchannel says

    can i go on record as saying 2008 might be in jeopardy?

    things are moving at such a rate that unless tv serves up a tv/web combo, don’t think for a minute the goog/yahoo! pure plays of the world are not aware of the enormous dollars at stake.

    the $64,000 question will be: which major candidate takes office while running a successful, albeit inexpensive, online campaign.

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