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Beyond the Tube: How Local TV Stations Are Using Mobile to Reach Millennials

February 11th, 2019   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

Millennials like—and watch—as much broadcast television as everyone else, reports Nielsen. They also are high consumers of mobile content. How can local TV stations respond to the desires of this audience without cannibalizing their programming?

The answer is to innovate, offering programming targeted at younger audiences and, what’s more important, reaching them on their devices of choice. That means mobile.

Creating Content for a Mobile Audience

ABC’s Localish is a prime example of how a broadcaster can use data and leverage the strengths of local TV stations to reach millennials.

The ABC Owned Stations Group, comprising eight stations, launched Localish in September. It’s a new brand that focuses on hyper-local stories produced by individual stations, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

ABC quickly expanded the offerings to four series:

  • Secretly Awesome introduces unusual local spots
  • My Go-To features influencers’ favorite local hangouts
  • Worth the Wait reveals whether the wait at a popular spot is worth it
  • More in Common celebrates surprising connections between people

The content is available on the ABC website and apps, as well as OTT platforms and social media. The plan is to have a mix of national and local advertising, with enhanced targeting for the local ads.

New Distribution for Local TV Stations

Another example of how local TV stations can reach young, mobile viewers comes from Didja. Light Reading reports that Didja captures over-the-air TV signals at local data centers and redistributes them via the internet to mobile and TV-connected devices. It’s currently available in three markets: the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, and Phoenix.

Didja doesn’t stream major broadcasters; it works with smaller channels. For example, according to Broadcasting & Cable, its San Francisco lineup includes programming in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, in addition to the Korean music channel KPOP, Blues Television Network, and Katz Broadcasting’s Escape.

Didja says its goal is to provide as many people as possible with access to live, local broadcast programming while enabling TV-like experiences, including channel surfing and the recording of favorite shows. It plans to eventually offer targeted advertising via geofencing, which could provide new revenue streams for local TV stations.

The company believes that the offering will be particularly appealing to millennials and other younger audiences that like to watch TV on mobile screens, as well as to bilingual households.

By partnering with companies like Didja, smaller channels can avoid the labor and expense of creating their own mobile apps, while reaping the benefits of local, targeted advertising.

Mobile Ad Sales to Rise

In addition to reaching millennials on their preferred platforms, tactics like these will also help local TV stations benefit from the strong growth in targeted mobile advertising.

RBR-TVBR reports on findings from BIA Advisory Services that the local TV ad spend for 2018 will be $20.8 billion, compared to $21.9 billion for location-targeted mobile ads.

The article quotes BIA managing director Rick Ducey saying, “Advertisers who integrate audience targeting on TV with location targeting on mobile can achieve an incredibly powerful one-two marketing punch.” Local TV advertisers and stations should keep this in mind as they look to the future.

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