If you think you “know the media,” but you don’t pay attention constantly to the changes unfolding in front of us, then start using the past tense and say that you “knew the media.”
Within the last week, news broke about a “partnership” agreement between NBC and Fox that enables them to share news crews in markets where they both own stations. A piece in the trade journal Broadcasting and Cable explains how it’s supposed to work.
The networks tell us that this arrangement will mean “more enterprise reporting.” Until proven otherwise, I’m skeptical that it’s anything other than a cost saving measure. Viewership for local TV news is down across the country, in many cases about 20% in 10 years. That means less revenue for companies where the Owned and Operated stations (O&Os) used to be cash cows. Coupled with the economic situation the nation is now facing, broadcasters are putting unprecedented pressure on management to find new ways to save money and increase margins.
What does this mean for PR people? The old-schoolers who expect multiple cameras to come out to news conferences are in for more disappointment. For the rest of us, it means the same thing as all of the other changes we are seeing – fewer traditional media resources means less coverage in traditional media and a multi-platform approach to communications becomes even more imperative.