Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Future of community newspapers is video; online news thriving in areas that lack local TV news

Community newspapers in rural areas underserved by television news are finding a broader audience by launching their own television stations, Corey Hutchins reports for Columbia Journalism Review. Several Calkins Media newspapers, such as The Beaver County Times, located outside Pittsburgh, have added video content through "its channel on the Roku streaming media player, a set-top box that’s a favorite of cord-cutters."

Guy Tasaka, chief digital officer of Calkins Media, told Hutchins, “I think it’s the future of newspapers, and they need to jump on it ASAP. If they do it correctly, if you’re a dominant newspaper in a small market, as the OTT market grows, you can become the TV station for a local media company, cross-platform, in your geography.”

OTT refers to 'over-the-top' content, Hutchins writes. "While the rise of Roku and competitors like Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Google’s ChromeCast has made it easier for viewers to access their favorite shows without a cable subscription, it has also created new opportunities for media producers to reach audiences while bypassing Federal Communications Commission licensing and the expensive equipment of traditional broadcasting stations."

"It’s an opportunity, in other words, for a newspaper to launch its own TV station—which is more or less what The Beaver County Times and its sister publications in Pennsylvania have set out to do," Hutchins writes. Tasaka told Hutchins, “We wanted to create micro-TV stations within our markets. Our CEO’s mantra when he hired me was he wanted to out-TV-station the TV stations in our newspaper markets.”

The Times, which offers a free Roku with a subscription to the paper, has more than 2,000 Roku installs, according to Tasaka, Hutchins writes. "Another Calkins paper, the Courier Times in Bucks County, has about 7,500 active Roku installs. (The video content is also available via Amazon Fire TV.) The OTT video programming is offered, essentially, as part of a subscriber content bundle—or a 'burrito,' as Tasaka calls it, that also includes access to stories on the paper’s website. (The company also licenses its OTT technology.)" (Read more)

No comments: