TV still relevant in Michigan


With so many new choices for news, information and video content, do people still care about TV? Research being detailed at today's Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) Annual Meeting & Leadership Retreat in Grand Rapids finds that folks in that state still do. 84% say they watch TV news and that weather and local news are most important.

"Not only is television viewing as strong as ever, but Michigan citizens clearly told us they want local television to provide information about weather and news," said William A. Donohue, Professor of Communication at Michigan State University, whose William Donohue Group of East Lansing conducted the survey of 500 Michigan citizens for MAB. "People in Michigan are convinced that local TV stations provide a valuable service to the community and all indications are viewing levels will remain consistent going forward," Donohue concluded.

MAB hired the William Donohue Group to survey viewer attitudes toward television in general and local television news in particular.  The research was also used to determine the impact that new technology such as digital video recorders (DVRs), video games and Internet usage may have on television viewing. The telephone survey of 500 Michigan citizens representing a geographic cross-section of the state was conducted in April 2007. 

Among the key findings of the research:

*84% of those surveyed say they are frequent or occasional viewers of television news;

*83% of the sample believes their favorite station provides a valuable service to the community;

*77% believe they are spending about the same amount of time or more watching local TV news compared to one year ago;

*63% watch TV more than 90 minutes per day after dinner;

39% watch early evening news while 35% watch late evening news; and

*The most important factors in determining which  local news station viewers watch are weather, local news coverage and local events.

SmartMedia observation: Are folks in Michigan much different from elsewhere? Not likely, although this study was confined to a single state. News continues to be local, local, local – and weather even more so, other than our curiosity about damage done by Mother Nature far from where we are. Local television stations still dominate delivery of local news video, although no one should be complacent, since newspapers are trying to make themselves relevant to younger demos by adding video coverage to their websites.