Broadcast groups and TV stations are increasingly experimenting with news and local programming. Some are doing news in time periods usually reserved for syndicated programming. Some are narrowing the focus, and the name, of newscasts in traditional time periods. Others are launching newscasts that promise to be totally interactive. One station even produced its own […]
Some are doing news in time periods usually reserved for syndicated programming.
Some are narrowing the focus, and the name, of newscasts in traditional time periods.
Others are launching newscasts that promise to be totally interactive.
One station even produced its own teen realty show that airs in primetime.
Now comes The Now, a new approach to news.
The Now, an hour-long program by E.W. Scripps Co., launched last week in Cincinnati (WCPO, ABC), Detroit (WXYZ, ABC), Cleveland (WEWS, ABC) and Tampa (WFTS, ABC) according to Jessica Rappaport, Scripps’ VP of Marketing.
The Now premiered in July and August on other Scripps stations in Denver (KMGH, ABC), Kansas City (KSHB, NBC), Phoenix (KNXV, ABC) and West Palm Beach (WPTV, NBC). The Now airs at 4 p.m. in every market.
“Research indicates there is a significant appetite for news at 4 o’clock,” says Rappaport. “The challenge is to execute it across eight markets in different time zones by sharing content and resources but yet keep it local.”
Scripps describes The Now as an original program that focuses on the issues of most interest to news consumers.
How can they possibly know that?
Rappaport says they use a “technology to help us identify what people are talking about the most”, but stopped short of identifying it.
According to Scripps, The Now features a mix of local, national and international news, as well as viral stories, videos, entertainment and lifestyle stories.
“The Now is independently produced in each market,” Rappaport says, “what each station does day-to-day varies.” She adds that KMGH Denver acts as the national desk.
In a press release, Brian Lawlor, VP of Scripps, describes The Now as the “type of programming audiences on multiple platforms crave.”
Several of the station’s websites emphasize that The Now is “not a newscast.”
Rappaport says The Now programs do cover weather, “but not like they cover it in other newscasts” and will not routinely cover traffic “unless it’s a big story.”
If there’s a breaking news story in any of the markets where The Now airs, those stations “will cover it but stay with The Now format”, according to Rappaport.
Scripps provided the stations with fast-paced, graphics-oriented promos to launch the shows. Some stations use talent in their launch promos; some don’t. Some stations support The Now with daily, episodic topicals; some don’t.
Rappaport says social media is important to marketing the program. “Each city uses its social media person for Facebook and Twitter to help gauge what’s going on and to get contributions from users and viewers. it’s critical to the show’s success.”
And how is Scripps feeling about the success of The Now?
“It’s too early to know,” Rappaport says, “of course, we’re interested in ratings and revenue.”
But more importantly, she adds, is how well the shows are executed and how they contribute to the Scripps brand. “Good content trumps everything.”