The Neglected Screen

Imagine if viewers tuned in to your newscast and saw a complete hash — random soundbites, video from news conferences, click-bait video, a reporter’s story from two days ago and a weather forecast recorded six hours earlier — all jumbled together for no apparent reason.

Well, guess what?  That’s probably what they get from your station on their smartphone screen.  As mobile use continues to surge, here’s my question:  Why are local stations failing to produce their mobile products?  We wouldn’t dream of unleashing a torrent of random material on-air that may or may not matter to viewers.  Why is it tolerated on our fastest-growing platform?  Mobile users have different content priorities than TV viewers.  While stations are often careful about content decisions on-air, mobile users are left to sift through the television scraps.  It’s hardly the way to build a loyal following.

Even many digital producers in newsrooms have their eyes locked on the desktop homepage most of the day, even though desktop use is shrinking and mobile use is skyrocketing.  If I’m in a newsroom and call up the mobile page and see an old story near the top of the screen I point it out.  The response generally is, “Really?  I didn’t see that.  I wonder how it happened?”

You have a producer for the noon news, which we all know is viewed by lots of old ladies.  Why don’t you have a mobile producer who is paying attention to your fastest-growing (and much younger) audience?   Why is the first place users turn the last place we manage to produce?   Why won’t we invest in our own future livelihood?

If there is someone in your newsroom producing your mobile product, please let me know.  I’d like to call and offer my congratulations.  They may be the only person in the country with that job.

By | 2016-12-13T15:28:01+00:00 July 15th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

John has more than 30 years of experience in the television and media industries. He has served television networks, station groups and other media companies of every size from across the country on behalf of CJ&N for the past 14 years. John also currently serves as President of the Professional Advisory Board of the Iowa School of Journalism. Prior to joining CJ&N, John served as senior television consultant and manager at Frank N. Magid Associates and held on-air and management positions from Orlando and Tampa to Minneapolis. He’s an Emmy Award winning writer. John earned an MBA and a BA in journalism from the University of Iowa.