Facebook Vs. Your News App

Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t get it.

Why do some TV stations continue making Facebook their primary platform for breaking news and especially breaking video instead of their own platforms? Why not make sure the content gets on the station’s revenue platforms?

Facebook is a marketing platform. Sure, use it to tell people you have a big live story. If there is critical public safety information, use Facebook as a tool to communicate. Maybe run a video clip. But it should be no more than a tool to drive people to YOUR sites.

I see more stations putting content on Facebook, especially live video content and never putting it on their site. Here are two examples that happened within hours of each other.

The first is from Kansas City using Facebook to push me to watch a live breaker. And I’m not picking on KCTV – this is something that’s all too common.

It’s great to use Facebook to tell users about the story.  But when you look at the stations revenue-producing platforms (the news app and the mobile website), there was no sign of the story.

Here are screen shots of their app and their mobile site – no sign of the breaker.

As a user, why should I clutter my phone with apps when I know the station will send me a Facebook notification and I can see it live on my Facebook feed?

Here’s another instance just a short time later. This time the story was a chopper crash in Tampa. I was sent Facebook notification for a WTSP live feed. They rang up a great number of views, but it was mostly great for Facebook since Facebook gets all the user data for sales.

Now, you have to give WTSP credit for linking to its site for more info. But what I didn’t get as a user was video. Why was there no video on its revenue platforms? Even on its app there was no video.

Seriously, why DO we keep making Facebook the primary “news app” users may need? Is it a station culture issue?  Is it a station ego issue showing how many likes, views and shares they have? Is it a work flow issue? Is it a publishing issue with their apps and mobile sites?

It’s a question stations need to answer. And if it turns out to be a publishing issue then shame on us as an industry for not developing tools that compete with Facebook.

There are stations that use push alerts extremely well to get users to their apps for breaking news. They get thousands of views and never feed the Facebook cash register. When it comes to news content, maybe stations should focus more on their platforms than Mark Zuckerberg’s.

About the Author:

Today developing an effective digital media strategy is critical for revenue growth and brand-building. Steve is working with station groups, website developers, content suppliers, and others to in three key areas: social media, web and mobile. In addition, Steve puts his extensive television news expertise to work for clients helping them develop and refine their on-air product. Steve has led news operations in markets across the country including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Hartford and Tampa. In addition, he has served as an executive at the corporate level for NBC Universal and Meredith Local Media leading strategic growth and digital content initiatives. Most recently, Steve was vice president of news at WTXF, FOX Philadelphia where he took all newscasts from a fourth place position to second or first. Steve has also served on several industry boards and is the winner of many awards including the Georgia AP Best Website Award and numerous Emmy awards.