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July 27, 2022 1:28 pm  #1


Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

One of the big problems in my opinion with the current TV landscape in Canada is the fact that almost all of the television stations are owned outright by Bell, Corus, Rogers, CBC/RC, Quebecor etc. Other than local news, broadcast days are filled with network programming which gobble up almost all of the advertising airtime with network promo and national advertising.  Local stations are losing money on paper at least because of this.

Here is an article from Variety which says that local TV (in the US at least) still sells.  Very few stations south of the border are owned outright by the networks, usually only in the top ten or twelve markets. Local American stations are often owned by large and smaller independent broadcast groups. The networks in the US do not take up nearly as much broadcast time over the day and local stations will run a lot of syndicated programming, even a few hours of local programming or extended news filled with lots of minutes for local advertising and promo.  

Not really that long ago it was same here with network affiliated stations that were not owned outright by the networks.  All of these stations had hours of programming every day that could be sold to local or regional advertisers as well as national.
Here is the article from Variety...https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/cw-sale-warnermedia-discovery-merger-nexstar-tegna-1235172345/

 

July 27, 2022 4:52 pm  #2


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

It never ceases to amaze me that a market as small as Erie, PA continues to support four local commercial television stations plus a PBS outlet, despite being in the shadow of several nearby larger markets. Although there has been some consolidation in recent years, there are still two ownership groups for that market - one for WICU and WSEE, and one for WJET and Fox 66. The Erie market is comparable in size to the Numeris market for Kelowna, BC.

I doubt Erie would receive that level of service if the big four networks owned all their stations across the US. If the FCC ran things the way the CRTC does, Erie would likely have only one locally based station, and everything else would rebroadcast Pittsburgh stations.

 

July 27, 2022 7:12 pm  #3


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

No, you can't put that toothpaste back in the tube. A single CHCH/CHEK-type station in some markets could work; that's about it.


 
 

July 27, 2022 7:58 pm  #4


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

Back in the 1950's and 60's. the U.S. networks supplied their affiliates with programming [game shows AM, Soaps PM] from 10AM-4: 30 PM. Today, for the most part the Noon-12:30PM and 3-4:30PM time slots have been returned to the afflliates.

 

July 27, 2022 7:59 pm  #5


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

RadioAaron wrote:

No, you can't put that toothpaste back in the tube. A single CHCH/CHEK-type station in some markets could work; that's about it.

We are hearing that a lot of local stations even in large markets are losing money and some may close.  Why is that? 

Maybe because there isn't a lot of local advertising time available to sell in the first place?  If the network owned stations don't make money even after gutting the station staff, and skeleton news operations, then something isn't working.

There is an over reliance on national advertising which seems to be a less reliable source of revenue. Huge money with national, yes, but also becoming more and more fickle.  Why not open up some time for the local stations, during the day and even prime time?  Local ads seem to be only in and around the local newscasts.  I have noticed on US network TV most shows have time available during the program for local advertising, even prime time. 
 
Seems like CBC, CTV, and Global take up an awful lot of potential advertising time with repetitive promos, and freebees when they could have had regional and local ads that would bring in money.  Likely a lot of money.

Better to make some cash on your local operations than losing money every month.  Even conglomerates that don't seem to care about serving local markets should understand that.  

     Thread Starter
 

July 27, 2022 8:26 pm  #6


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

There's a lot of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto/Vancouver. 

You don't see them here because:
1) They're priced out
2) Local businesses just don't exist like they used to; and those that do are neighborhood specific and paying for the mass reach of local TV would be highly inefficient.

Local TV's problem is most certainly not that they are ignoring advertising opportunities. 

You won't see a single local ad on NBC/ABC/CBS New York or Chicago.

Last edited by RadioAaron (July 27, 2022 8:27 pm)


 
 

July 27, 2022 8:54 pm  #7


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

RadioAaron wrote:

There's a lot of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto/Vancouver. 

You don't see them here because:
1) They're priced out
2) Local businesses just don't exist like they used to; and those that do are neighborhood specific and paying for the mass reach of local TV would be highly inefficient.

Local TV's problem is most certainly not that they are ignoring advertising opportunities. 

You won't see a single local ad on NBC/ABC/CBS New York or Chicago.

I will have to check that out. ustvgo.tv gives you access to all the NYC affilliates.

 

July 27, 2022 9:30 pm  #8


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

I grew up in the Owen Sound area. Back then, we had only one TV channel. CKNX ch 8 Wingham. A large part of their proramming was locally produced and broadcast live. Everything from News to entertainment to music and variety.

I seemed so corny and small town and it was. But more of that kind of programming would be a refreshing change today.


You don't have to be a good sport to be a mad one.
 

July 27, 2022 10:18 pm  #9


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

RadioAaron wrote:

There's a lot of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto/Vancouver. 

You don't see them here because:
1) They're priced out
2) Local businesses just don't exist like they used to; and those that do are neighborhood specific and paying for the mass reach of local TV would be highly inefficient.

Local TV's problem is most certainly not that they are ignoring advertising opportunities. 

You won't see a single local ad on NBC/ABC/CBS New York or Chicago.

Don't understand your post. Lots of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto and Vancouver, ok.  What do you mean that you don't see them here?  Why would we see them?  They are priced out?  What does that mean?

Lots of local and regional advertisers still exists, and they are not neighbourhood specific at all.  Not the same as it was 50 years ago with single small retailers, that's not who I am talking about.  There are plenty of large local/regional businesses that have the budgets and access to co-op advertising.  These clients would advertise on breaks that are now filled with heavy needless promo for network programming and psa filler.

Give the local stations some local breaks or partial breaks during prime time, and during the day. Then you will see that local stations won't be losing money, and national revenue shouldn't be impacted at all.  They are no where near selling out right now.  

Don't care if there are no local ads in NY or Chicago on NBC/CBS/ABC. There are local ads on Detroit TV and almost every show in prime time has room for some local Detroit advertising, usually towards the end of the show or half way through during an hour program.  

     Thread Starter
 

July 27, 2022 11:22 pm  #10


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

paterson1 wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

There's a lot of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto/Vancouver. 

You don't see them here because:
1) They're priced out
2) Local businesses just don't exist like they used to; and those that do are neighborhood specific and paying for the mass reach of local TV would be highly inefficient.

Local TV's problem is most certainly not that they are ignoring advertising opportunities. 

You won't see a single local ad on NBC/ABC/CBS New York or Chicago.

Don't understand your post. Lots of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto and Vancouver, ok.  What do you mean that you don't see them here?  Why would we see them?  They are priced out?  What does that mean?

Lots of local and regional advertisers still exists, and they are not neighbourhood specific at all.  Not the same as it was 50 years ago with single small retailers, that's not who I am talking about.  There are plenty of large local/regional businesses that have the budgets and access to co-op advertising.  These clients would advertise on breaks that are now filled with heavy needless promo for network programming and psa filler.

Give the local stations some local breaks or partial breaks during prime time, and during the day. Then you will see that local stations won't be losing money, and national revenue shouldn't be impacted at all.  They are no where near selling out right now.  

Don't care if there are no local ads in NY or Chicago on NBC/CBS/ABC. There are local ads on Detroit TV and almost every show in prime time has room for some local Detroit advertising, usually towards the end of the show or half way through during an hour program.  

It’s been over 10 years since I’ve been to NYC, but my observation of the local TV landscape when I was last there was that local commercials showed up on stations like WPIX 11, but not on the “big 4” affiliates.

Now, I work in advertising (albeit digital and not linear broadcasting), so based on my experience in the industry my theory is that local TV in the US may be greatly helped by the number of injury lawyers that advertise, at least in Buffalo, Rochester and Detroit. They can afford it as they likely only need 1-2 successful cases per year to justify a high ad spend. (Curiously injury lawyer TV commercials are just not a thing in Seattle, there’s one I’ve seen but it’s a lot more lowkey than what I’m used to out east.)

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (July 27, 2022 11:23 pm)

 

July 28, 2022 12:53 am  #11


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

MJ Vancouver wrote:

Now, I work in advertising (albeit digital and not linear broadcasting), so based on my experience in the industry my theory is that local TV in the US may be greatly helped by the number of injury lawyers that advertise, at least in Buffalo, Rochester and Detroit. They can afford it as they likely only need 1-2 successful cases per year to justify a high ad spend. (Curiously injury lawyer TV commercials are just not a thing in Seattle, there’s one I’ve seen but it’s a lot more lowkey than what I’m used to out east.)

Seattle has local car ads more often than lawyer ads, it seems.
University Audi & University VW ads are the first that come to my mind for local...
 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

July 28, 2022 8:46 am  #12


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

Most of the stations in Canada are in communities of at least 200,000+ and serve the larger region around the metro area.  The small stations like Brandon, Wingham, Timmins, Red Deer etc have been closed. 

So all of these markets would have lots of opportunities for large local advertisers like car dealers, dealer associations, downtown BIA's, RV and recreational dealers, colleges and universities, building supplies, some malls, and some areas with rural farm supply dealers, and even lawyers and medical specialists, tourist associations and high end independent retailers and restaurants. 

What they need is more local airtime to sell, other than news and early mornings on programs like Your Morning on CTV which has some avails around the local newsbreaks. 

Even during the Super Bowl last year, I couldn't believe how much promo CTV/TSN ran.  I get it, huge ratings with the Super Bowl and they want to run promo for new shows and biggest programs. CTV could have sold some local ads during the games pre/post programming and during the actual match. What we had on CTV, was an over abundance of network promo for Crave, CTV, Bell Fibe, CTV Throwback, The Source (Bell owned retailer), TSN, and the various Bell specialty channels. 

Why not fill some of that promo with local ads that run on the corresponding local station?

Last edited by paterson1 (July 28, 2022 9:23 am)

     Thread Starter
 

July 28, 2022 10:32 am  #13


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

What I don't get is Bell running ads for services that aren't even available in the region it's being advertised in. For example, I constantly see Bell Fibe ads running on CTV Calgary. Bell Fibe doesn't even serve the region. 

In the US, one of the biggest reasons why there's a lot of local news programming on US stations is for during election season when political parties are buying local ad space. They're very lucrative, and they don't care if you're the #1 guy or the last place guy; they're buying your inventory during local newscasts. That's why ABC runs 3 PM newscasts in some markets, why CBS is launching hybrid local/national newscasts on its CW/independent stations, why 10/9c newscasts are everywhere etc. 

The strangest time, I thought, to see a lot of local TV ads was during PGA broadcasts when Global had them. In Calgary, it was the local Mercedes dealerships, or local money management companies, or other LOCAL businesses that catered to the more affluent viewers of golf that advertised during those broadcasts. I would have thought national advertisers like Rolex or Lexus would have bought all that inventory.

 

July 28, 2022 7:10 pm  #14


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

paterson1 wrote:

Don't understand your post. Lots of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto and Vancouver, ok.  What do you mean that you don't see them here?  Why would we see them?  They are priced out?  What does that mean? 

The ad rates in bigger markets are too high for local businesses to afford. If you "opened up" local availabilities, you'd have to sell them at a lower rate, therefore lowering overall revenue.

Same reason you won't hear many local ads on CHUM 104.5.

And all those promos aren't because there's a bunch of time they *can't* sell, it's time they're not *allowed* to sell, as the CRTC limits TV advertising to 12 minutes per hour.

Last edited by RadioAaron (July 28, 2022 7:11 pm)


 
 

July 28, 2022 8:48 pm  #15


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

RadioAaron wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

Don't understand your post. Lots of local advertising in markets smaller than Toronto and Vancouver, ok.  What do you mean that you don't see them here?  Why would we see them?  They are priced out?  What does that mean? 

The ad rates in bigger markets are too high for local businesses to afford. If you "opened up" local availabilities, you'd have to sell them at a lower rate, therefore lowering overall revenue.

Same reason you won't hear many local ads on CHUM 104.5.

And all those promos aren't because there's a bunch of time they *can't* sell, it's time they're not *allowed* to sell, as the CRTC limits TV advertising to 12 minutes per hour.

That's odd, the CRTC site says that there is no commercial limit for television stations.  For discretionary services like CTV Drama, Teletoon, Showcase etc. limit of 12 minutes of national advertising per hour, and for Sports Channels like TSN, Sportsnet, and news networks such as CTV News Channel, CBC News Network it is an average of 12 minutes over the broadcast day, so they could heavy up in various dayparts. Any promo does not count for any of the commercial minutes, and also the little pop up ads with advertising don't count either.

I can see where it is harder to sell local ads in Toronto or Vancouver for CTV or Global, but most of the national ads are running in other markets anyway.  Why could you not have a local rate for inventory that isn't sold for local advertisers? Radio has always had national and local rates.  These ads won't be running anywhere else but on the local station.  I am sure smaller and medium markets like Kitchener, Halifax, Sudbury, Winnipeg, Regina, Ottawa, London, Saint John etc. could sell some of the unused inventory that is filled with promo and no charge psa's. 

We keep hearing that local TV is in a dire situation.  This would help them and bring in much needed added revenue and should have no effect on any national advertising.    

     Thread Starter
 

July 28, 2022 8:52 pm  #16


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

Lowering rates for local clients only leads to lower rates for national clients. The agencies know. The TV stations have done the math that overall lower rates aren't worth it for a couple new local clients.

Have you suggested to local TV stations that they could be profitable if only they sold more advertising? They'd probably be blown away by that revolutionary notion.

Last edited by RadioAaron (July 28, 2022 9:01 pm)


 
 

July 28, 2022 9:04 pm  #17


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

RadioAaron wrote:

Have you suggested to local TV stations that they could be profitable if only they sold more advertising? They'd probably be blown away by that revolutionary notion.

Nah, I'm retired.  Is the problem really that there isn't enough allotted time for them to sell in the first place?  Seems odd that you have so much promo when at least some of it could be paid local/regional advertising. Most local ads are always slotted into just the local newscasts and some early morning programming. Why not some local accounts in prime time?  Most programs aren't sold out anyway and filled with a lot of repetitive network promo. 

     Thread Starter
 

July 28, 2022 9:11 pm  #18


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

paterson1 wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

Have you suggested to local TV stations that they could be profitable if only they sold more advertising? They'd probably be blown away by that revolutionary notion.

Nah, I'm retired.  Is the problem really that there isn't enough allotted time for them to sell in the first place?  Seems odd that you have so much promo when at least some of it could be paid local/regional advertising. Most local ads are always slotted into just the local newscasts and some early morning programming. Why not some local accounts in prime time?  Most programs aren't sold out anyway and filled with a lot of repetitive network promo. 

If that time were sellable, they'd sell it. Big companies can get a lot of things wrong, but monetizing opportunities isn't one of them.
 

Last edited by RadioAaron (July 28, 2022 9:22 pm)


 
 

July 28, 2022 9:45 pm  #19


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

I disagree, if the big companies were really doing their job and "did the math" local television stations across the country wouldn't be losing money. Still in the red after years of slashing overheads, gutting staff,  closing some TV outlets, streamlining and consolidating operations, reducing local stations to poorly produced newscasts with few staff and no profile in the communities they "serve"... and they still can't make any money??? 

Seems that the big guys are doing a lousy job with the monetizing opportunities. Time for a new business model.  I get the feeling the current plan is mostly cutbacks and doing less.  That actually isn't a business plan. 

     Thread Starter
 

July 28, 2022 9:59 pm  #20


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

paterson1 wrote:

I disagree, if the big companies were really doing their job and "did the math" local television stations across the country wouldn't be losing money. Still in the red after years of slashing overheads, gutting staff,  closing some TV outlets, streamlining and consolidating operations, reducing local stations to poorly produced newscasts with few staff and no profile in the communities they "serve"... and they still can't make any money??? 

Seems that the big guys are doing a lousy job with the monetizing opportunities. Time for a new business model.  I get the feeling the current plan is mostly cutbacks and doing less.  That actually isn't a business plan. 

This kind of stuff does happen in the US as well, but we don’t necessarily see it in Canada because these are markets not carried on cable here.

As an example, in Maine the NBC affiliates in Bangor and Portland (WLBZ and WCSH) have gradually merged into one news operation over the years. WLBZ began simulcasting some of WCSH’s newscasts in 1989, and dropped its last standalone local newscasts in 2016. This is not unlike what happened with MCTV in Northern Ontario, where some newscasts from the Sudbury station were introduced on the other three MCTV stations during the 90s, and local production on those three other stations (North Bay, Timmins, SSM) were dropped in 2001.

This does seem to be the exception, rather than the rule in the US, however.

Another thing to consider is that “local TV” does seem to be more of a thing in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia than in some other parts of the world where television channels are more national in scope, and networks may have no local station in cities that would be easily served by 2 or more local affiliates in the US or Canada. Mexico is an example of this, where Televisa runs the four oldest stations in Mexico City and has rebroadcast three of them nationwide for decades with no localization except for the odd state-level PSA and time shifting in other time zones. It would be like CBC broadcasting its Toronto station across Canada.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (July 28, 2022 10:18 pm)

 

July 29, 2022 10:08 am  #21


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

Good points MJ and ED1.  The US cable system is very different than what we have here and the set up is much more protective of home turf for local stations.  Some cable companies actually pay local TV to carry their channel, or have must carry provisions. These are negotiated on a regular basis. Cable in Canada doesn't pay stations to carry their signals, and have no problem offering many out of market local channels on their various packages. 

Also as ED1 pointed out, the US is always in either campaign or election mode with municipal, state and national political/advocacy advertising.  We have nothing like this here. This advertising is a wind fall for local TV and radio and brings in a huge amount of revenue.

CBS 62 Detroit is getting back into the local news business after 20 years, and it could be as much to accommodate the local political and advocacy advertising that will be jammed into every break during their newscasts. Since they are an owned station by CBS, they currently don't have as much airtime available for local ads.  They are more like a Canadian station right now since they produce next to no local programming and no news.   

The issue here is that Bell, Corus, Rogers, CBC, Quebecor own almost all of the stations outright, so even the term local doesn't really apply anymore.  There always is the possibility some of the conglomerates may get out of the business.  Not totally unthinkable.  Corus had everything up for sale a few years back.

 And Bell doesn't have a long history in broadcasting.  They got into the business quickly and in a very big way.  In fact they sold 80% of their stake in CTV years ago, only to later turn around and buy it back.  The media division is not that big a part of BCE's total business and likely the least profitable. So at some point they could put some or all of their radio and TV and broadcast/film properties up for sale.  And there is an outside chance that the CRTC will open up ownership more to foreign companies.  

Last edited by paterson1 (July 29, 2022 10:10 am)

     Thread Starter
 

July 29, 2022 10:59 am  #22


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

paterson1 wrote:

Good points MJ and ED1.  The US cable system is very different than what we have here and the set up is much more protective of home turf for local stations.  Some cable companies actually pay local TV to carry their channel, or have must carry provisions. These are negotiated on a regular basis. Cable in Canada doesn't pay stations to carry their signals, and have no problem offering many out of market local channels on their various packages. 

Also as ED1 pointed out, the US is always in either campaign or election mode with municipal, state and national political/advocacy advertising.  We have nothing like this here. This advertising is a wind fall for local TV and radio and brings in a huge amount of revenue.

CBS 62 Detroit is getting back into the local news business after 20 years, and it could be as much to accommodate the local political and advocacy advertising that will be jammed into every break during their newscasts. Since they are an owned station by CBS, they currently don't have as much airtime available for local ads.  They are more like a Canadian station right now since they produce next to no local programming and no news.   

The issue here is that Bell, Corus, Rogers, CBC, Quebecor own almost all of the stations outright, so even the term local doesn't really apply anymore.  There always is the possibility some of the conglomerates may get out of the business.  Not totally unthinkable.  Corus had everything up for sale a few years back.
 

I never understood why our local TV stations did not have market exclusivity on cable. That could have solved a lot of problems from the beginning (or at least prolonged the inevitable).

As for CBS in Detroit. their new news operation is going to be streaming/digital first. WWJ is going to simulcast the  streaming news channel, so the content will probably not be what we would expect from a traditional TV newscast, but it definitely will open up ad inventory for political parties to buy up at election time. 

 

July 29, 2022 12:06 pm  #23


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

paterson1 wrote:

... Bell doesn't have a long history in broadcasting.  They got into the business quickly and in a very big way.  In fact they sold 80% of their stake in CTV years ago, only to later turn around and buy it back.  The media division is not that big a part of BCE's total business and likely the least profitable. So at some point they could put some or all of their radio and TV and broadcast/film properties up for sale.  And there is an outside chance that the CRTC will open up ownership more to foreign companies.  

The last figures I saw for Rogers:
Wireless 65%
Cable: 25%
Media: 10% which, at the time I saw those numbers a few years back, was OMNI 1 & 2, City, the Sportsnets, the radio stations, 37.5% of MLSE, the Jays and Rogers Centre, and magazines. It was rebranded to Rogers Sports & Media. It's the high profile part of Rogers business - until there's an outage - but not a huge profit contributor.


 

 

July 29, 2022 12:37 pm  #24


Re: Could Local TV Make A Comeback??

ED1 wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

Good points MJ and ED1.  The US cable system is very different than what we have here and the set up is much more protective of home turf for local stations.  Some cable companies actually pay local TV to carry their channel, or have must carry provisions. These are negotiated on a regular basis. Cable in Canada doesn't pay stations to carry their signals, and have no problem offering many out of market local channels on their various packages. 

Also as ED1 pointed out, the US is always in either campaign or election mode with municipal, state and national political/advocacy advertising.  We have nothing like this here. This advertising is a wind fall for local TV and radio and brings in a huge amount of revenue.

CBS 62 Detroit is getting back into the local news business after 20 years, and it could be as much to accommodate the local political and advocacy advertising that will be jammed into every break during their newscasts. Since they are an owned station by CBS, they currently don't have as much airtime available for local ads.  They are more like a Canadian station right now since they produce next to no local programming and no news.   

The issue here is that Bell, Corus, Rogers, CBC, Quebecor own almost all of the stations outright, so even the term local doesn't really apply anymore.  There always is the possibility some of the conglomerates may get out of the business.  Not totally unthinkable.  Corus had everything up for sale a few years back.
 

I never understood why our local TV stations did not have market exclusivity on cable. That could have solved a lot of problems from the beginning (or at least prolonged the inevitable).

As for CBS in Detroit. their new news operation is going to be streaming/digital first. WWJ is going to simulcast the  streaming news channel, so the content will probably not be what we would expect from a traditional TV newscast, but it definitely will open up ad inventory for political parties to buy up at election time. 

Glad to see CBS Detroit is developing an actual news department and not just running a “Now” newscast. CBS recently established a “newscast” on CW11 in Seattle-Tacoma, which is called “Seattle Now News at 10” but has virtually no local content other than a weather forecast presented by the KPIX San Francisco meteorologist repeated 4 times throughout the hour, and a couple of brief reports using stock footage. Aside from the weather the whole thing is otherwise a national newscast produced out of KTXA Dallas-Fort Worth. (CBS owns Seattle’s CW affiliate but not the market’s CBS affiliate)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puVjAtfVUNk

Apparently CBS is doing something similar for other stations it owns that don’t currently have news departments, such as WSBK Boston. However it’s a pretty sad excuse for local news.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (July 29, 2022 12:39 pm)