Broadcasters Are Succeeding in Today’s Media Ecosystem
This week, yet another incumbent industry organization urged regulation of innovative tech services to avoid competing on the merits. Here are the facts:
– Tech services like Google benefit publishers with free traffic, digital journalism tools, and more.
– The recent National Association of Broadcasters report’s findings have been contradicted by broadcast executives, and are based on a debunked study.
– Broadcasters are succeeding in today’s evolving media ecosystem.
Tech services like Google benefit publishers with free traffic, digital journalism tools, and more.
For smaller outlets, Google News increases news consumption by as much as 26.3%, and article page views by 44.6%, finds a recent NBER working paper. “A striking pattern can be observed when we compare the total news consumption of treatment and control users: while the effect of Google News on the top 20 publishers is not statistically significantly different from zero (with estimates small in magnitude), smaller outlets gain as much as 26.3% from the presence of Google News. When we dissect this effect by page view type we see that the availability of Google News changes the page view mix towards articles and away from landing pages for larger outlets, but that the two effects cancel in the aggregate. For smaller outlets, the landing page traffic is unaffected by Google News but article page views increase by 44.6%.”
Removing Google News leads to a decrease in news consumption, especially when it comes to content from small publishers, finds the NBER research. “We find that the shutdown of Google News reduces overall news consumption by about 20% for treatment users, and reduces page views on publishers other than Google News by 10%. This decrease is concentrated around small publishers. We further find that users are able to replace some but not all of the types of news they previously read. Postshutdown, they read less breaking news, hard news, and news that is not well covered on their favorite news publishers.”
Broadcasters are partnering with leading tech services to reach new audiences. News 12 in the New York Tri-State area is one example, writes Kayleigh Barber of Digiday. “[T]he broadcaster took part in the Google News Initiative in early 2020 to try and build a new solution to grow its audience — and subsequent advertising revenue — beyond its traditional viewership of 5 million monthly viewers, made up mostly of 35- to 55-year-old women, according to Chris Vaccaro, VP of digital news at Altice USA, parent company of News 12. GNI provided the funding for News 12 to build a new tool that uses machine learning to contextualize every single video clip produced by the local media company, which typically ranges between 85 and 100 clips per day. Then the tool tags the content with labels like entertainment, sports, crime, COVID or, in this first use case for News 12, lifestyle. From there, all of the content with the same tag can be filtered into one dedicated landing page, app or other web destination.”
The recent National Association of Broadcasters report’s findings have been contradicted by broadcast executives, and are based on a debunked study.
The current media environment is characterized by abundant consumer choices and fierce competition for ad dollars, said broadcast industry representatives in a recent amicus brief to the Supreme Court. “As the costs of producing and distributing local news and other local programming continue to climb, local broadcasters are simultaneously required to navigate a media marketplace populated with abundant other sources of programming that compete with broadcast television for viewers—and for advertising dollars.”
In the advertising space, “broadcast cable, digital, and other media all play a role and all compete” Marcien Jenckes, president of advertising at Comcast Cable has said. “For all of these reasons, I see advertising as a very broad and dynamic marketplace where broadcast cable, digital, and other media all play a role and all compete with and place constraints upon one another. As a businessperson in this environment, I think it’s essential to take a holistic perspective on the advertising ecosystem and not view different media within silos.”
Advertisers have more effective options than ever before to reach their customers, including video, direct mail, radio, and more noted Dave Lougee, President and CEO of TEGNA Inc. “It’s worth noting that [advertisers] have an enormous amount of effective options, more than ever, to reach their target customers beyond video ads, including direct mail, paid Google search, radio, et cetera, and they use those options, more than they’ve ever had before. But with respect to their video advertising, they are targeting customers and audiences, as Marcien said, not programs. They’re after their target customers and their audiences. They can buy from a local broadcaster. They can buy from the cable interconnect. And now, a plethora of targeted digital options.”
The data used to back recent research on “zero-click searches” is questionable, failing to note “how they collect data about Google searches,” notes SEO professional Bill Slawski. “However, the more significant problem is the number of ‘blind spots’ (i.e., details of the data we can’t see) in the slice of the pie that represents the so-called ‘zero-clicks’ occurring — or not — on Google.” In fact, “a substantial percentage of the so-called “zero-click” searches are getting a click.”
“[SimilarWeb] provides some information about where [the data] is coming from, but nothing that actually indicates how they collect data about Google searches. They say it comes in part from 4.7 million web apps, but never name what those apps are specifically.”
Google has increased the number of visitors it sends to websites, explains Roger Monnti of Search Engine Journal. “An inconvenient truth that SparkToro might not have known about is that, rather than ‘steal’ visits to websites, Google has yearly increased the number of visitors it sends to websites.”
When it comes to news, most Americans bypass search engines and access content directly from publisher websites or apps, shows a recent Pew poll.
There are plenty of good reasons why someone may not click on a website during a search, explains Danny Sullivan of Google:
– People reformulate their queries. “People don’t always know how to word their queries when they begin searching. They might start with a broad search, like ‘sneakers’ and, after reviewing results, realize that they actually wanted to find ‘black sneakers.'”
– People look for quick facts. “People look for quick, factual information, like weather forecasts, sports scores, currency conversions, the time in different locations and more. As many search engines do, we provide this information directly on the results page, drawing from licensing agreements or tools we’ve developed.”
– People connect with a business directly. “As an example, people might search for business hours, then drive to the store after confirming a location is open. Or they find restaurants on Google and call for information or to place an order, using phone numbers we list.”
– People navigate directly to apps. Some searches take people directly to apps, rather than to websites. For example, if you search for a TV show, you’ll see links to various streaming providers… If you have that streaming app on your phone, these links will take you directly into the app.
Broadcasters are succeeding in today’s evolving media ecosystem.
The television ad space is expected to grow 9.3% in 2021, according to GroupM. “[T]elevision remains resilient overall considering the double-digit audience declines the ad-supported form of the medium is experiencing: for the full year we expect 9.3% growth in national TV, including related connected TV and other similar advertising activity.”
Record-high retransmission fees are opening a new revenue stream for local TV stations, shows data from the Pew Research Center. “For some time now, local TV stations have had a second source of revenue: retransmission fees paid by cable providers for the right to carry the local stations in their home markets. And these were up sharply in the second quarter of 2020: Retransmission fee revenue at publicly traded local TV companies saw a median year-over-year increase of 37%, possibly driven by spikes in viewership.”
TV networks are making their streaming platforms a more central component to their pitches for ad revenue, writes Tim Peterson of Digiday. “The TV networks appear to recognize where the growth opportunity is. In the past, networks had prioritized their linear channels in their upfront pitches and positioned their digital inventory as a complement to round out advertisers’ abilities to reach people. That is changing this year. Network groups including Disney and ViacomCBS are making their streaming properties a more central part of their upfront pitches. That could help them to retain dollars that advertisers may otherwise look to reallocate to other homes.”