When disaster strikes a community – a hurricane hits the coast, wildfires rage – people turn to and depend on their local TV station’s newscast to provide them with the information they need to know. The COVID-19 global pandemic with critical local implications has once again demonstrated the valued dependency of local television news.
Even after several years in the business, I was surprised at the depth to which this was true. Those interested in coronavirus information have overwhelmingly turned to their local TV newscasts. In April, at the height of the crisis, 79% of consumers were getting local news about the virus daily and almost half (45%) multiple times a day.
Local news once again demonstrated how indispensable it is as reporters and anchors reported on conditions and cases, offered tangible solutions, and answered questions we all had about this novel coronavirus. This global pandemic with huge implications to local communities all over the country has reminded us that local television’s pillar of strength – localism – is alive and well.
The value of local
At its core, local television news has always been about helping local communities better understand important issues and concerns that face their community. Local TV news has clearly demonstrated this during the pandemic where consumers truly feel like local television news is looking out for their family and community. What a great opportunity for local TV to do what it does best.
The highest value we bring to our markets is meaningful, local content, and the pandemic has demonstrated that there are clear opportunities for local television news to continue this local valued “connection” with local consumers. As we’ve known for a while now, consumers want local content beyond news, so take this time to evaluate areas where you can expand your content strategy and identify the points of local connection specific to your unique market.
Not a reinvention
These “unprecedented times” have not been a reinvention for the industry. We’ve responded like we always have in times of crisis – putting in the long hours, getting creative, finding authentic ways to tell stories and get to the heart of big issues. Working and broadcasting remotely has forced us to lean into attributes we’ve long known to be viewership drivers, like authenticity and relatability of anchors and reporters.
How will you continue to demonstrate this value as we move forward? 69% of people have tried a new brand during the quarantine, from news stations and streaming services to new food products or packaged goods. Consumers are sampling right now, making it the perfect time to reinforce or reassess your brand position, and keep feeding that desire to watch.
The coronavirus shined a light on the value of localism. Now is the time to keep that light on and continue to evolve our local presence across platforms to better serve and connect with our local markets.
Looking for ideas on how to better create connectivity and show your value at the local level? Let’s talk.