Al Sunshine may have retired from TV news but he hasn’t stopped paying attention to it, and the downward trajectory it’s headed on that points to a future similar to the one newspapers find themselves in today. He wrote an article for RTDNA saying the decline in local TV news viewership can be stopped if TV station owners reinvested capital into news departments and paid closer attention to technology.
During the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 stations laid many people off, and continue to run with reduced staff. Or if they hired people back salaries are often less than they were before. WFOR, as rumors suggest, is on a spree asking employees to take pay cuts – chief meteorologist David Bernard allegedly being one of them.
To be as successful as possible, we have to remain relevant and connect with our audience. To do that, we have to start more long-term planning into staffing and keeping up with state of the art technology rather than being overwhelmed by the crush of daily new[link]
Relevancy of course is the key here. Local news viewership has trended down for years as fewer and fewer people find it relevant, and of course because viewers have more other things to do besides watching a newscast showing inane stories, house fires, and car crashes that happened hours ago.
What’s even worse for TV stations, smartphones and tablets are becoming smarter and more ubiquitous every year. Google Now for example, can figure out where you live and work all by itself, and supply the user with weather and traffic information at a glance. And it’s only going to get smarter. As mobile device capabilites like that get more polished, they would inevitably threaten TV news’ last anchors – weather and traffic – even more than regular weather and traffic apps. And then what?