This Associated Press story has been picked up on a number of different sites. Basically it discusses how local TV stations in the USA are worried that the networks they are affiliated with (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX), will bypass them completely in the move to provide video content online.
Local stations face a challenge, and for sure they should be putting pressure on the big networks to ‘share the love’ in terms of money earned from online video sales. But the model they should be preparing for is ‘affiliate’ relationships as they exist on the web, rather than charity from the networks based on geography.
In other words, local stations get to sell ‘Desperate Housewives’, say, on their own sites, or can link to a ‘Desparate Housewives’ page on the network sites, and get a decent cut for those referrals.
The other thing local TV stations must do, if they’re not doing so already, is developing their own local digital content libraries, news etc., making those available to viewers online, and meta tagging them like crazy. This way, local TV sites can build their userbases, (in preparation for the above), and so they are ready when the networks want direct digital access to their content. They can pay for all this by selling high quality streams to interested viewers, particularly those who might be a long way from home.
It should be remembered that viewers in local markets are far more likely to know which local station ‘Desperate Housewives’ appears on, that whether it is made by ABC. These stations should press that advantage. The networks should also remember the example of the record industry, where record labels tried to sell music online from their own sites, and failed – EMI, Sony, Universal, etc. Nobody knows what record label a particular artist is on, outside of the industry.
Food for thought going into NAB…