• Online Viewers are Forgetful, Catching Up

    February 25th, 2010

    Most folks who watch TV programs online seem to be forgetful types.  Nielsen says these customers either forgot to watch a favorite TV program, or forgot to set their DVR to record it.  12% of them are sneaking a peek at work – watching a program online in their cubicle – we can only assume this is during lunchtime. LOL!

    Nielsen reports that 54% of people who watch a TV program online forgot to watch it on their television set when it originally aired.   Another third of these users forgot to set their DVR to record their favorite program when it aired on TV.

    They also use online viewing of TV programs to catch up because they missed a large number of episodes (47%), or to catch up on episodes from a previous season before the new season begins (33%).   Another 18% use online viewing to watch an episode they missed because someone else in the household was watching another program at the same time as their favorite show.

    Interestingly, the Nielsen research shows that viewing TV programs online is a solitary activity.   Half of the people say they “never” watch these online TV programs with another person.  Another 35% say they “rarely” view programs online with another person.

    Here is another interesting – but not surprising – nugget from the NSI study.  While Hulu gets a lot of publicity as the place to watch TV programs online – they are blown away by You Tube.   Hulu had over 600,000 video streams of TV programs during January – but You Tube had 6.6 million streams.  You Tube streams grew by 3 percent over December- while Hulu was flat.   ABC television had a little less than 130,000 streams – but that was an increase of 71% from December.  The third place site – Yahoo – had a little over 221,000 streams – a drop of 9%.

    The total streams – for all online sites – is impressive at 11 billion for the month of January.  That activity came from just under 143 million unique users – a jump of 5% from a year ago.  These folks spent an average of just over three hours online each time they viewed a TV program.


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  • Attempt at Super Bowl Social Media Sizzle Fizzles

    February 15th, 2010

    Apparently Super Bowl advertisers missed the mark in their attempt to extend their ads from the big game by using social media to give life to their brands beyond one multi-million dollar spot within the most-watched event.  I leave the diagnosis of why this effort missed the mark to 2.o guru’s like our Terry Heaton – but I find the information fascinating.

    The Friday before the Super Bowl USA Today ran an article on how marketers were going all out to create an on line buzz for their brands that were being advertised in the game.  One expert was quoted as saying, “They’ve deputized an entire population via Twitter and Facebook to spread the news of these ads.”   Many of the Super Bowl advertisers offered social networking tools to breathe life into their ads beyond one 30-second blast.

    Unfortunately, a survey of 1,500 consumers by Boston advertising agency Chadwick Martin Bailey showed the effort fizzled.  They followed the actions of those consumers for 24 hours following the Super Bowl and found that “few went on line despite many advertisers’ efforts to drive them to the web.”  The advertisers’ goal was to drive the viewers to go on line and chat, Tweet and become a Facebook fan.

    But despite a record TV viewership of the Super Bowl, when it “came to sharing the ads with friends on line – during or after the game – only 7 percent of respondents took this action.”   The study showed that 47% of the sample was on line for scores or research during the game, but only 2 percent Tweeted about their favorite ads, and a mere 1 percent became a fan of the brand on Facebook.   The study also found that while 12% took action by visiting a Super Bowl advertiser’s web site – 67% took no action at all.

    No one has explained why this web effort failed – but there may be a further clue in a study by HCD Research in New Jersey.  Their on line poll showed that scores for the top Super Bowl spots performed lower in qualities like emotion and memorability that the highest-ranked spots from 2008 and 2009.

    They do feel that commercial clutter may have been a problem.  There was a record-setting 47-minutes and 50-seconds worth of ads in this year’s Super Bowl – beating the previous record by a full two minutes.  There were 66 pitches from 41 companies!

    So, there you have some interesting info on attempts to send viewers to the web for value-added sizzle for the Super Bowl advertisers.  While I’m not an expert, I assume that the failure was tied to the fact that there really was no great user benefit for going to these web sites.  I watched the Super Bowl with my trusty Mac at my side – but never felt the urge to go to the web for more info on a spot.  I guess the effort in the future must be overt.  It is the same question we see from viewers who are watching/or not watching local TV news – “What return am I going to get for the invest of my time?”


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  • The Same Weather Report Over, And Over, And Over…….

    February 12th, 2010

    I am a big proponent of owning storm coverage but KTVT in Dallas turned that opportunity into a huge annoyance as an unbelievable 13 inches of wet snow fell on Dallas – a one day record.   As I watched primetime television on CBS it felt like I was stuck watching Bill Murray in Groundhog Day!

    All of the Dallas stations had strong storm coverage – including KTVT (the CBS O&O) during the early evening newscasts.  But when the early evening newscasts ended – KTVT decided we needed a “Weather Alert” during EVERY commercial break – right through Craig Ferguson (and maybe beyond I hit the sack after Craig).

    So, every time the CBS network went to a commercial break – the KTVT weather dude came on with the exact same phrase, “we promise you are not going to miss any of the program, we are taking this commercial break time to update you on the latest weather.”  OK – good idea – but there was nothing to update.

    The snow had tapered off dramatically by the evening, and it was just sitting over Dallas without moving – something I learned every time the weather guy from KTVT went to live radar.  Pretty much everyone had worked their way through a traffic mess and were home by now – not wanting to be reminded about the snow every few minutes.  This is especially true when there was absolutely NO new information to deliver.

    So, just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day – we were subjected to the same information over, and over, and over and…   It was really maddening.

    Oh, and then at ten o’clock this morning, I flipped over to KTVT – and in the middle of Price Is Right they were still doing the same Weather Alerts during every commercial break.  I could not turn the TV off fast enough.

    The message of course is – Yes, you must own weather coverage but this approach was like touting fake breaking news.  It was nothing but an irritant to viewers – no doubt having the opposite effect that KTVT was hoping for.


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  • From Aint’s To #1 – You Can Do It Too!

    February 8th, 2010

    There are lessons to be learned from the rise of the New Orleans Saints from the bottom of the NFL barrel to Super Bowl Champs.  And there are parallels to your local news ratings as well.

    For decades the Saints were the doormats of the NFL.  Fans took to wearing paper bags over their heads with “Aint’s” written on them.  Then – just a few short years ago it all changed.

    Here’s how they did it:

    • Hired a smart, innovative coach with a solid plan and the guts to stick with it
    • He was also willing to take risks (like an onside kick to start the second half of the Super Bowl)
    • The coach surrounded himself with smart middle managers (assistant coaches) who bought into his plan and were willing and capable to execute it ruthlessly
    • The coach did not waver when his rise in the standings faltered last year – instead he went out and hired a new creative, fearless coach to shore up the defense – kind of like hiring a brand manager to be sure your plan gets carried out in the newscasts every day
    • Along the way the coach had the courage to move out some players who were no longer on top of their games – or did not buy into his philosophy.
    • He also brought in some bright new players to make the team stronger
    • Then coach Payton demonstrated strong leadership every day in a myriad of different ways to keep his team believing in his strategic plan

    This determined dedication led to the former NFL bottom feeders ruling the roost after their win Sunday.

    Take a look at those bullet points again – they all hold the key to building a strong brand at your station.  If you couple the plan with buy-in from the staff, and consistency in your newscasts every day.  You can rule the roost in your market too.


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