Sports, News Nets Can Evolve Without Changing Game Plan -- #NYCTVW

The television field may be evolving but executives from news, weather and sports networks say the playbook of delivering quality and informative programming is still an audience and brand winner.

Executives speaking at The Content Show’s “Changing Face of News, Sports and Weather” panel Wednesday said changes in brand, content and business operations are inevitable in order to effectively keep stay competitive in a crowded television marketplace. Networks however, need to remain on brand and continue to deliver appealing content that viewers want to see.

“We have to recognize that we are caretakers from some incredibly well- known brands and within those brands you have tremendous latitude if you stay true to the audience expectations are,” said Steve Capus, executive producer for CBS Evening news With Scott Pelley and executive editor CBS News. “Where we see people get out of sorts is when there is such an overreach that it doesn’t fit in with the particular brand.”

Other highlights:

On using talent to effect change: The Weather Channel Network president Dave Clark said that adding well-known, quality talent to a network – similar to The Weather Channel’s addition of veteran meteorologist Sam Champion earlier this year as host of its AMHQ daily morning show -- can positively change the network’s brand image in the minds of consumers.

“Despite the changes there are still some universal truths, putting on a great show matters more now than ever,” Clark said. “Behind great shows is great talent.”

On offering content via multiplatforms: ESPN Films senior director of development Libby Geist said that it’s important for the brand to offer its content on all platforms to best reach its audience. “There’s endless airtime there and the budgets are smaller,” she said. “It’s a huge growth area for us.”

While networks are using multimedia platforms to promote and distribute content, Chris Ebersol, founder of production house The Company, said web content has yet to be proven revenue source for producers. “I can’t make any money with digital – it doesn’t have the money yet to do anything,” he said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.