Friday, February 01, 2008

Online Syndication Hot Subject for Local Stations

The hottest topic at the this week’s National Association of Television Program Executives conference was online syndication, with local television stations staying busy buying syndicated programs for their websites.

Local TV is being left out of online revenue growth, and local TV stations are struggling to catch up. Online syndication, in which stations purchase the rights to television shows and sell advertisements within the programs to local businesses, is one way to boost revenue. The business model is successful with television, but it is unclear yet whether it will work online, writes The New York Times.

Part of the reason the model is uncertain is that the online audience is not localized, so selling to local businesses may be an antiquated structure. And TV shows online have mostly appeared on network TV sites rather than the sites of local stations. Few stations have proven successful at luring visitors with original content beyond local sports scores and school closings.

Broadcast TV earned 9.3 percent of the $8.5 billion market for local online advertising last year; newspapers took in three times that amount.

Viewers of local television are often reminded to go online for weather and traffic updates, but they tend to go to newspaper websites. The success or failure of stations’ online ventures will ultimately depend on the promotional abilities of the station.

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