TVB: A course well charted in rough seas


The TVB last week was better than ever, with presentation after panel session focusing on how to make more money, more efficiently in this digital age. As we mention in the related story below, non-profit TVB is dedicated to solving industry problems before they get cumbersome—ePort is but one shining example.

EVP Abby Auerbach in three months has taken the system all over the map—from broadcasters to software vendors to agencies. This is a system that will handle regular air time, non-air time, digital multicast channels, website inventory and mobile streaming inventory. The big push there was training of staff, more agency and station participation and for agencies and customers to specifically request electronic ordering. It’s in the industry’s hands now and in all probability it will keep adding more and more stations. The growth curve is steep.
The other big takeaway, other than how important LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL is in a tough economy, was the philosophy that just because you are a TV station (or radio station!) you don’t have to brand your website(s!) with the station. They can be completely separate and both serve the community while cultivating local content and dollars.

As Nexstar CEO Perry Sook said, “We are in the advertising services business.” That means with your knowledge of the community and local selling skills, you can start relying on the website(s) as a totally separate revenue generator. Sure, the TV station can advertise the site and vice-versa, but don’t limit yourself; don’t box yourself in as an offshoot of the over-the-air call letters and STOP selling as a package deal or value-added. Get into local user-generated content. Get into directories, problem-solving, events coverage and planning. Partner with advertisers as you launch new community sites. Look for opportunities in your market that are yet-unexplored. Let your main station be your base of operation, but hire separate staffs. Your revenue generating media operations can help each other a lot behind the scenes, including back office functions, but they don’t have to be attached at the hip! You have a major leg up on local internet startups, so change your mindset and exploit the real digital age—online and mobile.