Young Americans may be flocking to MySpace.com and the latest Grand Theft Auto videogame, but station managers, take heart: More than a third of young viewers tune in for local news, according a new study by a top TV-consulting firm.
Among “Millennials,” people born between 1977 and 1996, 37% say they watch local news, according to research by Frank N. Magid Associates released at last week’s Promax/BDA marketing conference in New York. The majority of those are over 18 and live in the Midwest and South. They tune in frequently, many for daily fixes.
The perception that Millenials are not watching local news is “not the case,” said Magid President/CEO Brent Magid. “They are going to be very important real fast.”
As stations battle declining viewership across demographic groups, the news is uplifting. There are 79 million Millennials in the U.S., larger than Baby Boomer and Gen-X factions. Most important for broadcasters: In five years, Magid notes, 50% of Millennials will move into the 18-49 demographic.
Magid said broadcasters should develop more digital products for Millenials, who value their cellphones, laptops and iPods more than TV. Eighty percent of Millennials say they watch primetime TV while using two other devices.
So how do stations grab their attention? Magid said clever promotion and guerilla marketing are more important than ever. Half of the Millennials who watch local news say they were influenced by promos.
The firm advises stations to make it easy to share video clips online, since Millennials are likely to pass them on to friends. According to Magid, 55% regularly pass content along to three or more people. And nearly half use social-networking sites like MySpace.com, which can spread content in a flash.
SWANSON’S TWO CENTS
One of the biggest names in the station business delivered a message for promotions and marketing execs at Promax: Think beyond the creative.
Fox Television Stations President Dennis Swanson said creative-services and marketing managers need to be more business-minded to get ahead. “You have a much more complex job than churning out beautiful 10-, 15- and 20-second spots,” he said. “It is about leadership.”
Creative execs, he added, need to work closely with sales, news and management, and they must hold their ground: “You can’t let the GSMs big-foot you. Hold onto your promo schedule. It’s in their interest to claim every spot.”
And as viewers are lured away by new technology, it’s up to marketing execs to keep them connected to their content.
“The litany of options is huge, and you have to stay current,” Swanson said. “You’re supposed to be the expert and help the GM.”
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