While stations have proven adept at getting customized iPhone apps into their users’ hands, Lost Remote says Apple’s ballyhooed iPad–demonstrated by Apple boss Steve Jobs yesterday–might have some implications for local television too.
Well-produced iPad apps could represent a vital link between stations and mobile young users who probably don’t watch much local news on television.
It plays to local TV’s strengths on a number of fronts. First, there’s a wealth of original video. Local TV sites are adept at writing shorter-form text reporting, which integrates well with a stronger video presence. They lack decent photos, but on an iPad you might imagine embedded video players doubling as photos. Just touch to play.
Then there’s the financial side. Local TV can monetize video at a higher rate that newspapers can monetize text. This plays right in the free model: maximize distribution to drive higher ad revenue. To get the word out, local TV still has one of the most powerful promotional vehicles known to mankind: television. Done right, local stations could out-maneuver their newspaper competitors at their own tablet game. But even more important, stations can forge a new path to a demographic that’s watching less and less local TV news.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.