The Dismal Future Of Local TV

Sam Schechner and Rebecca Dana of the WSJ wonder aloud how local stations can survive, especially if one of the networks moves to cable only, breaking up the concept of “network” entirely. Dallas has one of the lowest cable penetration rates in the country, second only to Anchorage, so it may not affect us as much as other markets. On the other hand, forecasters are predicting a 30% drop in revenues this year.


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7 responses to “The Dismal Future Of Local TV”

  1. Dirty Bastard says:

    If Megan Henderson is still on Fox, I’ll be watching.

  2. Chandra P says:

    OK, OK, we’ve got it. All traditional media is in trouble. Point noted.

    Can we not write about this every day, and instead focus on what is taking its place?

  3. News person says:

    More people read and watch the news than ever before…they just consume it for free. There is clearly a demand for news. Seems like there should be a way to monetize it. And why shouldn’t people pay for news? Why should we expect to get something for nothing? People keep saying that if you start charging for news than people will stop coming to your site. Maybe. Maybe not. If the New York Times starts to charge, I’d be willing to pay the price of a latte a week, more or less.

  4. George DeJohn says:

    News person-
    Have you ever thought about it?

    You would have to get every news source to start charging for that to work. Simply wont happen, as people will just find some place that is not charging and gravitate to that source.

  5. luniz says:

    NYT versus local TV news…which one am I more willing to pay for…

  6. News person says:

    George, I think there will be competition between free sources and paid sources. But I don’t think that news is simply price-sensitive. Even before the Internet, there has been competition between free newspapers and paid newspapers, for example. I think people will gravitate to paid sources of information after they compare the quality and quantity of “free” vs “paid” content. It’s not the “slam dunk” that you think it is.

  7. Phil says:

    I don’t know if this would work, but…

    Looking at TV stations as a pile of assets, they do have broadcast license (and all the distribution technology used to keep that license).

    So TV signals aren’t the only thing you can send over the air, and you use broadband access as an upstream/backchannel. Maybe there’s enough “stuff” there to build an interactive entertainment company that caters to a single market.

    And maybe that local company can develop regional reality programming that it sells to a nationwide audience via the networks or the Internet.

    But to answer your question more directly, I don’t know.