NATPE hosted its virtual event, “The Business Of News TV,” during which executives representing large news platforms, such as Telemundo, Accuweather, News Max, and Axios on HBO, among others, discussed the marketing, sales, and news strategies they have implemented to maintain the booming demand for global news programming. The presentation also featured foreign relations experts such as Bitcentral Founder and CEO Fred Fourcher and Foreign Relations Council President, Richard Haass, who explained news’ approach toward covering political occurrences and how related occurrences influence news outlet performance.
During the two-hour panel discussions, the experts agreed that a successful news delivery requires multi-aspect partnerships, not just distribution deals. The executives also noted the importance of accommodating programming and distribution models according to audience demands. Some platforms are automatically generating a streaming channel applicable to each specific user’s experience. Digital news delivery models differ from linear because it’s more fast-paced, conversational, and to the point, formatted in a more modern form.
While many companies have tailored their news delivery based on prominent current events such as the pandemic, others have maintained a broad range of coverage across local, political sports, entertainment, weather, health, wellness, special interest, among other topics. Fourcher highlighted the particularities of globally distributing news content, requiring the personalization of each region it’s accessible in and an appropriate selection of the time it is released to capture and retain audience engagement. The majority of news platforms have also seen an increase in news demand during all hours of the day, prompting them to implement all-day news features.
Third-party digital platforms have also increased potential viewership figures through viewing and web share features. However, the tactic implicates giving these outlets a certain degree of control over audience dispersion. Local partnerships continue making up a majority for OTT services. They are credited for global streaming expansions such as Tubi in Mexico, Canada, Australia, and other regions. Social media has also played a large general role in the success of the industry. At the same time, older audiences continue to contribute a large portion of the viewership and engagement across all platforms. Hispanic-serving networks such as CNN Espanol have noted a large young viewership demographic and families with an annual income of over 100k. The channel has prioritized its ad integration by adding a feature that merges the brand with sponsors on-screen as consumers view the content.
While some outlets have focused on points that are projected to be relevant in a decade to steer through an intensified news cycle, storytelling has become another strategy news outlets have implemented to keep the audiences engaged, who continue to tune in during morning rush hours and later on during the day, leading to record increases for free streamers such as Roku, Pluto TV, and News Max, which saw a 650% growth for its daytime ratings. Despite production delays caused by the pandemic, news and weather programs are projected to continue seeing demand from most 125 million TV-consuming US households, both on linear and digital platforms. According to Hass, accurate political news coverage with an appropriate depth is essential during a period in which the country is politically divided. The majority of American residents aren’t politically educated, rooted in a lack of related topic inclusions in school.