It used to be that local TV stations could rely on their own on-air to reach and influence news viewers to watch their news product.
It’s still a powerful bullhorn for your messages, even as network viewership continues to erode.
Now stations have Facebook, another powerful screen to attract news viewers. It’s been said that Facebook has become the new news lead-in, it’s that effective in driving audience to sample your news brand.
But the one area where many local TV stations have been rarely seen or heard, certainly for 9 months of the year, is local outside media — cable, radio, outdoor, digital, etc.
Yes, most stations do buy outside media during the sweeps months as part of their network or syndicated programming co-op programs. But the messages are tune-in, not brand imaging, and you’re competing with all of the other stations in town.
Then once sweeps are over, many local TV stations go dark, quiet, and non-existent on outside media.
Some compensate by forming trades, partnerships and allegiances with outside media companies that give them opportunities to reach viewers, listeners, users more often that just during sweeps.
But for many, it’s sweeps only.
Pat Pattison offers an incentive to local TV stations that will help bolster their outside media buying power.
“We help local stations pay their media bills like outdoor billboards, radio, print and even syndication and network co-op bills,” said Pattison, co-founder of The Incentive Plus Network.
Pattison has expanded his business under a new name, Incentive Sales Rewards, under the Connect Media umbrella, by offering local TV stations an opportunity to pay outside media bills in exchange for station on-air inventory.
A trade if you will.
“That was our initiative at Promax (the PromaxBDA Station Summit held last month in Las Vegas) and I got a pretty good response.”
“The stations give us inventory–half-hours, 60 seconds, 30 seconds, whatever–usually between 6 a.m. and midnight, and we monetize that.”
“It’s been a very positive experience,” said Doug Friedman, KUSI’s creative services director, one of Pattison’s clients, “because it’s time the station is giving up that we would not have income for, and it gives me money for things I don’t have in my budget, but that we want to do.”
KUSI is an independent station in San Diego owned by McKinnon Broadcasting.
Pattison said the stations accrue money in an account that they can use for outside media anytime they want.
“They get to choose, buy some cable time or outdoor, it’s there for them like money in the bank. We can actually help pay for their co-op, too. This can be the cash part of their co-op.”
“It’s literally a credit and they will apply that to whatever media we want,” said Friedman.
Friedman said KUSI has used it outside of sweeps for merchandise and giveaways, but during sweeps, the station bought cable mostly.
In the future, Friedman has plans to buy more digital.
“Facebook, yes, other digital like display ads, pre-rolls, in banner videos, those are perfect examples of what we can do with money from this pool.”
“It’s significant. It’s been quite good.”