Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Television The Media

Local TV Could Go the Way of Newspapers 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-as-good-for-wrapping-paper-though dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Alan D. Mutter writes on his 'Reflections of a Newsosaur' blog that the economics of local broadcasting may begin to unravel as dramatically in the next five years as they did for newspapers in the last five years, due to the unparalleled consumer choice made possible by a growing mass of (mostly free) content on the Internet. 'Once it becomes as easy and satisfying to view a YouTube video on your 50-inch television as it is to watch "Two and a Half Men," audiences will fragment to the point that local broadcasters will not be able to attract large quantities of viewers for a particular program,' writes Mutter. The economics of cable TV programming already are geared to serving small but targeted niches, but as audiences shatter, those options won't be available to local broadcasters, who will be deprived of the vast reach that enabled the high ad rates and enviable profits long associated with their businesses. Although barely 8% of US households had access to IPTV in 2009, this technology is likely to be available to some 20% of the more than 100 million homes subscribing to pay-television services in 2014, according to senior analyst Lee Ratliff of iSuppli, a private market research company. 'We already have gotten a hint of what the future could hold. Acting to trim spending during the recession, many local stations cut back their news staffs, resulting in a decline in the caliber and depth of their coverage,' writes Mutter."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Local TV Could Go the Way of Newspapers

Comments Filter:
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday May 21, 2010 @01:56PM (#32295928)

    Local sports on TV will not die and WGN is good with there local news and they have the best meteorologist.

    Also CSN CHI / CSN + is one of best sports channels.

    • Also, local TV is free, and works when the Internet is congested. Pay-TV, on the other had, is screwed.
      • I don't think Pay TV is screwed at all. It's now automatic for Americans to move-into house and hook-up the utilities: electric, water, internet, and cable TV. If you don't have cable TV you're in the minority (~20%).

        As for local TV, I think its future is in the hands of the FCC.

        And unfortunately the FCC seems to have sold-out to big corporations, because they keep talking about killing broadcast/antenna television. If that happens, I'll be disappointed. I got about 40 non-duplicated channel using my a

        • by tepples (727027)

          I got about 40 non-duplicated channel using my antenna, all free. I have no desire to be forced into paying Comcast $20 a month for "lifeline" basic.

          Comcast all but forces you to buy "lifeline" basic if you switch to satellite TV and keep cable Internet.

          • Let's see:

            - Cable Internet + DISH satellite == $25 for 1 Mbit/s (or $43 for 15 Mbit/s) + $12 for Dish == $37
            - Cable Internet + Lifeline TV == $25 for 1 Mbit/s plus $20 for TV == $45

            Yeah the prices are fairly similar in cost. I'd still choose the satellite as it's cheaper.

    • by c0d3g33k (102699)
      Exactly. Local sports, weather, traffic and regional news are the main reasons we watch the local stations at home. While traveling, local TV is also quite useful. And it's free over the air. The content on the web won't stay free, I guarantee you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Altus (1034)

        While I certainly watch sports on local TV I don't really watch any kind of sports reporting or weather reporting or traffic reporting on TV. The internet provides all off that in a much more efficient package. I can go check the local weather right now without having to wait for the news to come on and get around to the weather report.

        Right now I am more likely to get news, weather and traffic information from AM radio than I am from local TV stations.

        Still, there will have to be some kind of local repor

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by camg188 (932324)
          I only get OTA televison. 2 of the local affiliates continuously run weather radar and scrolling news on their 480p subchannel. During storms, the coverage there is better than anything I can get on the internet.
          The best local news coverage on the internet are just web versions of the local newspaper and tv/radio news stations, so I don't think the internet will replace them, but rather just supplement them.
      • by Tacvek (948259) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:36PM (#32296570) Journal

        Local TV may be free over the Air, but it really works best in cities and suburbs. Regardless, many people get the local channels through cable anyway.

        What I see happening generally with TV, is a move towards everything streaming over the internet.
        The idea beingyou pay for a service, and it gives you access to on-demand streaming of the entire back-catalog of most prime time TV shows, and other programs that largely follow the same format. Most regular TV shows would be watched in this fashion. On the air date they just appear in the list of streamable programming.

        Other programs would support live streams. For example most news programs would have live streams, as would the Weather Channel, sporting events, etc. Those that make sense to also have available on-demand, would be available that way after the live stream is concluded.

        Under such a system there would be no such thing as local programming. All sporting events would be national, (although pro sports may insist on black-out regions), and even local news programs would be available nationally, since it would actually be simpler to allow that, and really not add any cost.

        Now I recognize that this if it ever happens will take a while. It requires substantial Internet infrastructure upgrades, requires near universal broadband, and it would be opposed by local stations (who would do little besides create the local news broadcasts), the networks (the service would largely replace the networks), producers (thing will change the way funding works, and would definitely really hurt the sales of box sets).

        Never the less, we are already gradually heading in this direction, so it is still possible, especially if the networks chose to co-operate, perhaps creating this service as a joint venture among the Big Three and the Little One.

        Besides it is really the only chance the Television industry has, since there are already numerous unauthorized TV show streaming sites popping up, and they are far more convenient than tuning in at broadcast time, or even setting up a DVR to tape the shows. All those sites are missing is set-top box support.

        • The airwaves belong to the People.

          Corporations have no right to take away the People's airwaves, and leave them cutoff from receiving weather and news reports (for free). It's theft of the People's collective property, just as surely as if a corporation took over control of roads and started charging to use them.

        • P.S.

          >>>Local TV may be free over the Air, but it really works best in cities and suburbs.

          Not sure where you get that idea. I know lots of people who live in areas classified "rural" by the Census Bureau, and they get free television from 40-60 miles away. It works just fine. ----- IMHO a single point transmitter is still the most efficient way to reach ~1/2 a million households living in a television market. It's transmitting 20 Mbit/s * ~10 stations == 200 Mbit/s of data to each and every ho

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            It's transmitting 20 Mbit/s * ~10 stations == 200 Mbit/s of data to each and every home. That's certainly more efficient than running 1/2 million cables.

            Yes. But the question is, how long can you get enough people to watch the same 10 stations?

            The elephant in the room is "balkanization," and everyone is struggling to figure out how hard it will hit.

            Personally I think it's possible to be "not much," but only if broadcasters make a concerted effort to appeal to an audience.

            If broadcasters take the route of c

        • by tepples (727027)

          All sporting events would be national, (although pro sports may insist on black-out regions)

          Local TV has local advertisers. Who would advertise on a Fort Wayne Komets hockey game being watched in Boise, Idaho? I haven't seen a lot of geotargeted advertising of businesses within my home city on web sites that use the major ad networks, but then that might be because the ads are often SWF, and I have my web browser set up to use a whitelist for SWF.

    • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:13PM (#32296212) Homepage

      er... hasn't WGN been a cable network for the last 15-20 years? I don't even live in the same state (or even time zone) as Chicago, but all the local cable operators carry WGN, and have carried it even back when it was "Chicago's Very Own Channel 9."

      • Go Cubbies!

        • by sconeu (64226)

          Good luck with that.

          ObDisclaimer -- I'm not one to talk this year, being an Angels fan.

      • >>>hasn't WGN been a cable network for the last 15-20 years?

        No. WGN-TV and WGN America are separate entities. WGN-TV is local broadcast while WGN-A is distributed via satellite (and the piped through local cable lines).

        Same goes for WTBS and TBS

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Until the Weather Network can give as good a forecast as our local meteorologist, the local TV will still flourish.

      Calgary is a very quirky city. Its weather is the strangest thing ever. We have had snow in July, then +30 the next day, we've had sunny skies to rain to hail to sun again in less than 30 minutes. We have had the temperature expected high/low span of more than 35 degrees celcius, for a single day.

      There are a few sayings that roll around Calgary:

      "If you don't like the weather, wait a bit"

      and

      "If

      • There have been many times where we get snow while it is 30.

        I don't care which ones you use, but units are helpful.

        • I used celcius later on. I got lazy and didn't add em to the first one. Figured those smart enough to read the whole comment could use deductive logic.

    • WGN is good with there local news

      "Local" markets with greater population than some European countries don't really qualify as "local". I live near Sioux City, IA; that is local.

  • as local TV currently runs very little news about local events, politics, etc., only celebrities and murder, so the results of this include an out of control county and city council. So the faster they dry up the better in my opinion because they are not really providing any service to the public.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      The local stations here do, and not just celebrities (except impeached governor Blago) and murders, either. There's politics, road closings, city council meetings, etc. Your local stations may not be like that, but the local (Springfield, Decatur, and Champaign) stations are. All three stations cover stuff from the whole central Illinois area, and are worthwile.

      Since you live in LA, I can see why they're so celebrity-obscessed, but LA isn't anything at all like anywhere else in the country. Your visiting he

      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        Most folks (not we nerds, but normal people) don't bother with anything more than plopping down on the couch, turning on the TV, and channel surfing. The internet isn't going to change that.

        I'll ignore the condescension and just say that I'm a nerd *and* a normal person, and I know quite a few non-nerd normal folks too. My experience says different. Just plopping on the couch something people rarely do - more common is catching all the local info we've all been praising while getting breakfast/lunch/dinner ready for the family, catching up quickly on the way out to sports practice, etc. It's during those hands-free busy times that the local tv info is most useful, particularly around breakf

    • by lgw (121541)

      I thought the local events in Los Angeles were celebrities and murder? I agree with you though that the faster the city council dries up, the better, because they are not really providing any service to the public.

    • Don't forget exploding vans [knowyourmeme.com]. I'd love to have actual news in Southern California.
  • Local News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LatencyKills (1213908) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:00PM (#32296020)
    Whether or not a two hour "Who's the Boss" block in the evenings is worth anything is fully up for debate, but local news channels fulfill a niche that the crush of 24/7 news channels doesn't touch. I want local weather, local street closings, local politics, local crime, local sports. In the hours right about dinner I'd guess that the ratings of local channels rate higher than cable news. How they fill the rest of their schedule, I have no idea.
    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      Yeah, but the Internet can completely replace the local news stations. Come on, you must have seen a promo for a news story only to look up the story on Google News, getting the details immediately rather than waiting until 11. I know I have.

      Local weather is easier to get via the Internet. Weather.gov [weather.gov] is both free and more targeted than the local TV weather report. Live sports games can't really be done on the Internet yet, but then again, there are cable channels that fill that niche.

      But I do kind of like

    • ... but local news channels fulfill a niche that the crush of 24/7 news channels doesn't touch.

      Local TV news is (and, God, how can this be true?) even more irrelevant than local newspaper coverage, as it's less in depth, more poorly researched and written, and more of a "if it bleeds, it leads" nature. So what, exactly, is lost, should local TV news vanish? "All local crime, all the time!" reporting to spread fear, or parroting press releases from local politicians to capitalize from that? Or is it th

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Local TV news is easily replaced by the internet. Hell, even Google News has a local section customized to your area.

      But the internet provides something that TV simply can't -- hyperlocal news. There's two or three blogs that cover my own neighborhood. You can read up on events in the area, park closures, or see photos of interesting stuff (great for when you're too lazy to venture outdoors.)

      It simply wouldn't be economical for TV stations to provide this level of granularity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by photomonkey (987563)

        And where does Google get the "local content" that fills their search results?

        Right, it comes from the local journalists (including the TV folks, although in most markets they're useless).

        I wish people would realize that all this magically "free" content comes from somewhere. And once those people who pay their bills making that content lose their jobs, it's game over on many levels.

        Of course you'll get people submitting photos of car crashes they saw on the way to work, or opinions on any number of topics

    • Local stations use to provide something called "local programming" - everything from locally produced "professional wrestling" to kids shows, what have you. But this sort of thing is long gone. Now, "local" stations are little more than network conduits.
    • >>>local news channels fulfill a niche that the crush of 24/7 news channels doesn't touch.

      That's true, but I can't help wondering if local channels are sabotaging themselves. In just the past year, the local FOX station added a news team, plus a 24 hour repeat on the -2 subchannel. The UPN station added a 10 o'clock and so too did the MyNetTV station. So now I literally have 6 different channels to choose from to get my local news. ----- I don't think there's enough audience to go around to

  • ... and I didn't speak up because the music business sucked.

    Anybody in local newspapers had better have seen this coming since craigslist if not before. Can the blogosphere figure out how to monetize at a rate high enough to support independent reporting on a local level? That depends on how much money there is in advertising in an interactive medium where space is free (and the wind blows hot). One thing seems certain, we are entering an age where media skills are not based on specialization, have a limite

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:48PM (#32296770) Homepage Journal

      You're forgetting that local TV is paid for by local businesses trying to get local people to buy from them. It wouldn't make sense for a local restaraunt or auto dealer to pay to advertise to people 500 miles away, let alone on the other side of the world.

      And nobody came for the music business, they're killing themselves from their own greed and evilness, and the newspapers are doing pretty much the same thing (only at a less evil level).

      • by opencity (582224)

        > It wouldn't make sense for a local restaraunt or auto dealer to pay to advertise to people 500 miles away, let alone on the other side of the world.

        If that's your opinion I won't be investing in your start up.

        > And nobody came for the music business, they're killing themselves from their own greed and evilness,

        The only disagreement I have with that statement is the tense. They killed themselves. It's all over but the drying up and blowing away. And pop music seems to be getting a little better latel

  • There's certainly room for community television -- shows about the community produced by people in the community to satisfy local interests -- but the old model of doing things just isn't sustainable. Local news is *awful*. If anything, that song "Dirty Laundry" is too optimistic. We get a half hour of local rape and murder with half the stories being ads for what's coming on at 11, a half hour of national news watered down and leeched of any real content, and then a half hour of infotainment celebrity shit

    • by TheKidWho (705796)

      Why not just do it over the web? Why the TV?

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        The web. The web SUCKS when compared to the quality of pristine digital broadcasts. Even
        cable can't compare because cable operators are too busy degrading signals so that they
        can cram more channels on their bandwidth.

        Admittedly, there is the reception problem but that is easily addressed with a good antenna
        assuming your neighbors aren't uptight CCNR fixated pricks.

        The digital transition puts those old local stations in an odd and potentially advantageous
        position. Pay cable is also left in the odd position o

        • by lgw (121541)

          I get 2 channels now through my rabbit ears, one's in Spanish and the other is VietShoppingTV (which oddly doesn't seem to run home shopping shows, mostly soaps that I have no hope of understanding). I'm certainly not going to give any money to a cable company, so it's internet for me.

        • The web SUCKS when compared to the quality of pristine digital broadcasts.

          And where are you getting these "pristine" digital broadcasts? Most digital broadcasts are overcompressed pieces of shit due to the cable/satellite providers trying to cram way too many channels for how much bandwidth they actually have available.

          • And where are you getting these "pristine" digital broadcasts? Most digital broadcasts are overcompressed pieces of shit due to the cable/satellite providers trying to cram way too many channels for how much bandwidth they actually have available.

            I believe the OP was referring to over-the-air digital broadcasts, especially since he said exactly what you did about cable companies over-compressing the signals.

          • >>>And where are you getting these "pristine" digital broadcasts? Most digital broadcasts are overcompressed pieces of shit due to the cable/satellite providers trying to cram way too many channels
            >>>

            Ya know..... It helps if you read somebody's WHOLE post before responding. Quote: "The web SUCKS when compared to the quality of pristine digital broadcasts. Even cable can't compare because cable operators are too busy degrading signals so that they can cram more channels on their bandw

          • by tepples (727027)

            And where are you getting these "pristine" digital broadcasts?

            ATSC tuner.

            Most digital broadcasts are overcompressed pieces of shit due to the cable/satellite providers

            That's exactly what jedidiah said.

    • by Whorhay (1319089)
      I can't wait for it to die either. In my market the "local" channels all actually broadcast from about thirty miles outside of town in several different cardinal directions. This was annoying in times past when this meant that the reception was fuzzy. But ever since the digital transition they cut the broadcast power so severly that my household ends up watching 80% of our shows online because at the time of it's regular broadcast the channel is unwatchable. We even have a big fat external antenna setup an
  • Bullllshit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:07PM (#32296112) Homepage Journal
    in old times, local tvs were limited by the power of their antennas, their syndication deals, and government licenses.

    now internet gives them the possibility to broadcast to ENTIRE world. no limitations.

    unless telcos kill network neutrality, and bring an environment in which local broadcasters would be forced to make syndication deals with isps, this will be the big break of local televisions.

    imagine. one video goes viral and you are on top of the world in just a few hours. keep quality content up, and youll get subscribers in no time.
    • Re:Bullllshit. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Foolicious (895952) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:29PM (#32296470)

      imagine. one video goes viral and you are on top of the world in just a few hours. keep quality content up, and youll get subscribers in no time.

      Yeah - because "viral" videos are "quality content". Whatever.

      All that would do is encourage local news outlets to air the stupid or sensational kind of content that exemplifies "viral", something they already do and tell viewers "you can see this again on our website".

      If it's a bridge collapse, I suppose that's one thing. If it's a dog that scares itself with its own farts, I'd say this decreases quality. The way to keep consistent viewers at the local level -- something local advertisers with real, local money desperately want and are willing to pay for, in general -- is to have pertinent, quality content given by professional broadcasters with as little bias as possible. Online "news" outlets (mini agenda mills), the alphabet affiliates (5 minutes of actual news per 30 minute broadcast) and the cable outlets (even bigger agenda mills) provide the exact opposite of these things.

      • by unity100 (970058)
        are you aware that local stations already have to produce content in the quality level of viral videos in order to maintain any kind of existence ?

        the difference will be, at least they will have the chance to reach out to many and have enough support to produce quality content.
    • by lgw (121541)

      You might have something interesting to say, but you couldn't be bothered to use most basic principles of writing expected of any 3rd grader. Do you really think it makes sense to be this lazy when writing, and create an extra burden on your reader to puzzle out what you have to say? Unless you're saying "I'm a teenager showing off my disrespect for all rules, authority, and everyone, really," then I don't think you're getting your point across.

  • Most everything I watch is on Discovery, History or one of the other cable networks. For the most part ABC, CBS, NBC, etc all run low budget and out of date programs & 100's of interchangeable sitcoms.
  • by GWBasic (900357)
    Last weekend, when I walked around my local Fry's, I found a $700 Sony laptop with BluRay and HDMI. It was TINY, and it would fit snugly next to my Wii. Thanks to HDMI, I could plug it straight into my TV or home theater without any hassles. I'm very tempted to upgrade.
    • by netsavior (627338)
      your TV doesn't have VGA or component but it has HDMI?

      I have been running a set top box for like 10 years, my most recent was $150 corporate reject machine off of overstock. I don't have cable or over the air, only really watch hulu, netflix instant, and whatever else I can stream or torrent. The cost of entry is really really low, much lower than $700. Although I still don't see the point of Blu-ray, I suppose the "convergence" of having the laptop play blu-ray disks probably seems nice, but I have ne
      • I have never had a computer play DVDs in a way that was anything but more annoying than a cheap purpose built player, and you would have to work to get me to believe the same isn't true for blu-ray.

        The interface on the Blu-Ray software that came free with my drive does suck, but it's intended to get you to buy the $100 version.

        I've never seen a stand-alone DVD player with an interface anywhere near as good as either PowerDVD or WinDVD. Browsing through the special features menus is an exercise in figuring out which item is really selected, and trying to get the infrared sensor to register (at least the PS3 doesn't have that problem).

        • by netsavior (627338)
          gotcha, the difference between me and I guess "target" audience is "special features" are a hindrance to my experience rather than the point of it. The only buttons I need 90% of the time are "Stop, Stop, Play" (common dvd player shortcut to start the effing movie). I buy movies, not shitty flash-ish remote control games, or actor/director fap-fests talking over my movie.

          To me a DVD interface is just a stumbling block in front of watching my movie... Running a computer is one more step, load app, tell
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b0bby (201198)

      Get an Aspire Revo for your TV instead - it's only $200-$300. I already had a stand alone Blu-ray, so it's perfect for my needs. Search for Revo htpc, there are tons of cool things you can do once you add a usb tuner & a remote.

  • Good riddance. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zorkmid (115464) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:12PM (#32296202)

    Back in the day local news used to actually do local and fairly decent investigative reporting. These days all they do is read propaganda badly disguised as press releases from city, state, federal and corporate officials. I'm going to miss the hottie weather trollops though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)

      That day hasn't been around for decade. The Government pulling it's funding for news broadcasts ended quality journalism. Ever since then it's been a race for money.

  • News Sourcing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hhawk (26580) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:14PM (#32296228) Homepage Journal

    News used to come from reporters.. and some of it still does, full time professional ethically balanced reporters. These are different from news readers and talking heads who have a bias and and a point of view.

    However more and more of what seems to be news is actually generated through the PR business; PR companies pitch stories to reporters looking for "news." Some time they provide footage and certainly make people available for interview including primary sources but also third parties who may seem neutral, etc.

    As more and more news comes from the PR process, there is less and less need for the local news since they are not really reporting anything that could not be directly posted on YouTube. In the end we will have "news" channels' like http://gothamist.com/ [gothamist.com] which collects and presents, curates, and presents stories that other people have reported.

    In the future we will have a few real reporters and the rest will be a collection of people who report ABOUT the news pushed by the PR folks. Collaborative filtering and other social filtering methods will help us find the news we need.

    • full time professional ethically balanced reporters.

      Ha Ha Ha Ha, that was funny, do you still believe in the Easter Bunny too?

      • by hhawk (26580)

        They are out there. I didn't say they all are; and I separated out the talking heads... who are not reporters either.

    • If a reporter appears "ethically balanced" to you, that means that he agrees with your biases. That also means that it is very possible that you do not even realize that your biases are biases, due to the tiny, intellectually stunted world that you live in. The phrase "echo chamber" comes to mind. "Nobody I know voted for Nixon" is the usual battle cry of the out-of-touch liberal - despite the fact that Nixon won the election with a 23.2% margin of victory in the popular vote, the fourth largest margin i
  • I was reading a while ago that while print newspapers are dying, a few niche papers are actually doing very well. The most profitable being local police blotter info reprinted with pictures with mugshots etc. I foresee this whole business moving to the Web along with local news. There is already a Web site that provides hosting for 10 local newspapers in my area. Likely someone will come up with a Web site for communities where amateur reporters as well as a few on staff writers will consolidate news releva

  • by camg188 (932324) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:16PM (#32296276)

    'Once it becomes as easy and satisfying to view a YouTube video on your 50-inch television as it is to watch "Two and a Half Men," audiences will fragment

    As satisfying as watching Two and a Half Men? Well, that wouldn't take much. An out of focus, artifact ridden, 6 fps, 320 x 240 puppet show would be as satisfying.

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:18PM (#32296302)

    I've been thinking about this for some time, since I am about to drop cable and Tivo and go to strictly an internet connection.

    It especially came to light this last week when a number of severe storms went through the area. At present the local TV stations offer fantastic coverage of severe weather events, giving the viewer pin-point information on where tornadoes are and where they are headed. People can get prepared more quickly and only need to head for shelter when a storm is imminent. However, if local TV loses its revenue source, how can it financially support such excellent coverage?

    Of course the National Weather Service and the county government have a warning system, but the NWS issues a tornado warning for an entire county. This means that the neighborhood sirens go off even though a storm might be 30 miles away -- an unnecessary inconvenience.

    I'm also wondering how cable TV will fare. I don't really have a need for it anymore, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. After local TV disappears, cable is next.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by seinman (463076)
      The NWS no longer issues county-specific warnings. They still announce things like county names and regions, but that's only so people know if they're in the warning zone or not. The warnings themselves are shaped and sized according to specifically where the severe weather event will be. Take a look at the warning map on your local NWS office's website the next time they issue one.
      • by wcrowe (94389)

        I was not aware of that. The sirens in my neighborhood seem to get activated every time a warning is issued anywhere in the county, so perhaps the problem is that the warning system doesn't allow the county officials to specify specific neighborhoods.

  • Its just a matter of time before TV as we know it will go away in favor of something that is completely On-Demand, which the internet is currently king at providing. Some cable companies have their own On-Demand service, but its horrible at best, and they often charge outrageous amounts for it.

    I've had a MythTV box running since about 2001, and prior to that I never owned a TV at all. As cable TV switches from analog to digital with restrictions on what you can/cannot record and the requirement of pricey in

  • I hope local TV stays. I am on the verge of ditching the huge sewage pipe AKA Verizon FIOS and just go with local digital TV, internet options, and maybe re-activate my C-Band Sat system. Verizon FIOS has a zillion channels of which almost all of it is garbage programming and the rest is near un-watchable due to 5 minute+ commercials.

  • Stopped newspapers a few months ago.

    Haven't found a good replacement.

    Part of the problem has to be the local staff making six figures and the spectrum being bid up.

    TV used to be cheap to make. But it can't go backwards so it will die instead.

    There is more entertainment and news available than I can consume. I fall a hundred hours behind every week despite occasional binges.

  • What are the effects of conglomeration? Smaller, local stations will be crowded out and unable to compete for business.

    How do you fight against this tide? Quit trying to emulate CNN and fill a niche that attracts customers who can't find something anywhere else. For example, focus on smaller, local news items that big name cable channels won't touch.

    Wait, did you just hear something? Like a localized implosion?
  • by Alsee (515537) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:56PM (#32296906) Homepage

    Acting to trim spending during the recession, many local stations cut back their news staffs, resulting in a decline in the caliber and depth of their coverage

    That's odd, the caliber and depth of news coverage seem exactly the same as before.

    -

  • In the last ten years, I've lived in the Pacific Northwest, the Southeast, and now I'm in Texas. If you turn on the local news in any city, they all look exactly the same. They have the same set design, the same color schemes, the same graphics, and the on air personalities are so similar it's weird.

    Clearly they've all hired the same set of consultants and just copy from each other. It's really sad and is very similar to what newspapers did.

    The local tv stations could go away and I wouldn't miss them. I cou

  • The biggest local station already gets an increase in viewers when the weather turns sour. It's hardly surprising that they have almost as many meteorologists as reporters.

    The way that local TV stations will survive is if they figure out what the newspapers didn't— the local angle will sell. The newspapers cut staff and started relying heavily on the AP, which readers can get just as well online. If the news stations start creating more in-depth local stories, they'll get viewers. And as much as peopl

    • You know who is incredibly popular? The gardening guy.

      The gardening guy might be popular, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess he is popular in a demographic that doesn't attract a lot of advertisers. Sure, production costs might be low enough that his show turns a profit, but you have to consider opportunity costs as well. When they are broadcasting the gardening guy, they aren't broadcasting a Seinfeld rerun which is likely popular with a "better" demographic.

  • Says who? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zogger (617870) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:02PM (#32297020) Homepage Journal

    How many folks in the US *really* get the kinds of speeds needed, plus real unlimited capacity, to make this fly? Where's this ultimate connection outside of a few lucrative fiber roll out areas? Sure, *some* do today, but there are vast areas with millions and millions of people where OTA TV signals will still rule.

    The reason why I say this is because I have read every single broadband article here for the last long time, and not one article contained information like " and today, the major telcos and big ISPs announced a trillion dollar plan to roll out fiber optic high speed connection to 98% of the population within x-small number of years".

    They aren't spending any profits, not that much, on upgrading physical delivery infrastructure, they are bidding against each other and dropping all the serious coin in buying up media/content producers and each other, bigger fish gobbling the little fish. That leaves like some small percentage for infrastructure upgrade.

    In other words, ain't happening without them being forcefully mandated to provide credible high speed connections, not this joke stuff they claim is high speed, like way back when telephone and centralized grid power were first started and they got *ordered* to do it by the government, to not just pluck the low hanging fruit, but to provide it everywhere where they rolled it out.

      Paper newspapers are different, they cost a lot, and today, the news is stale by the time you get it. Unless you got a flock of kids in school locally, where you want to read about the little soccer games and so on, local papers got not much anymore, and the larger metro papers, again, stale news. That's why they are folding. But good def TV, being replaced by zillion megahertz-to-think-about-it connections? OK, everyone pack up and move into a few apartments in Korea or something. I mean we *just got* good OTA digital TV all over recently, and it works really well if your antenna-fu is strong, so how is any net TV going to really compete with that when only a small percentage of the population will have that sort of compatible connection?

    • How many folks in the US *really* get the kinds of speeds needed, plus real unlimited capacity, to make this fly? Where's this ultimate connection outside of a few lucrative fiber roll out areas? Sure, *some* do today, but there are vast areas with millions and millions of people where OTA TV signals will still rule.

      I live in an area with no local TV and very little broadband penetration. I think the two generally go together. My Census-Area is a quarter million people, but the FCC has sliced up the marke

    • by Pontiac (135778)

      Dude I'm doing it right now with a mid level 7 meg cable modem package.. You don't need fiber..

      Plus I have access to information I couldn't get with cable.. Like what the heck the kids are watching when I'm not home..

      They have Netflix on the Wii.. All I have to do is log into my account and look at the activity.. I can see everything they ware watching..
      Heck My Wife is home watching Bones Season 3 episode 15 right now.. I can get that info sitting here at work.

      When I dump Dish my ISP is going to get some o

  • by smchris (464899)

    "The economics of cable TV programming already are geared to serving small but targeted niches"

    Yeah, right. So I call Comcast and say I _only_ want Syfy and the result will be.....?

    With broadcast, I still have meaningful choice.

    Internet stream is still a different matter -- until Hulu starts charging. Next week?

    • by RevWaldo (1186281)
      Also, what cable/sat channels are really aimed at "small but targeted niches"? They're all copying each others programming no matter what "niche" they originally target. Wrestling on Syfy. "Star Trek TNG" on BBC America*. The Travel Channel seems to nothing but food shows. And so on and so on.

      (*They're not even showing EastEnders for fug's sake!)

      .
    • by Pontiac (135778)

      Hulu can and does insert advertising into the video streams..
      They have the ability to make new advertising $$ on old content and even target by market..
      That is where Hulu's money is going to come from.

  • I define news-sourcing as soliciting news sources from the audience. Already a lot of weather pictures/video and investigative reporting tips come from the audience in my area. A TV journalist polishes up this material and adds a pleasing face and voice. I suspect there will always be a market for journalistic polish. But it may be based from an internet carrier rather than a broadcast studio.
  • has always been financed by advertising on the nationally syndicated programs. The proliferation of cable channels has already fragmented the audience watching local stations. This has reduced the amount that stations can charge for advertising. If people turn to the Internet for their programming, this will only accelerate this fragmentation, making local stations financially unsustainable. It is already happening in Canada where TV networks have demanded that cable and satellite TV providers begin to
  • I dropped Comcast for broadcast TV last week because the signal quality was better. The DB4 antenna really pulls the stations in steady while comcast was always dropping out. I seem to be able to get all the cable content on the web that I care about but for HDTV I think broadcast is best where I live.
  • Blackhawks games have better ratings then free TV

    Just in the last 1-2 rounds there ratings on CSN CHI where better then shows on FOX and other big national cable networks. Also the VS ratings are good as well.

  • If the publically broadcast television stations can't produce content that is any better or more locally relevant than a you tube video, then they deserve to fail.
  • Its not as if there are many programs worth watching surely? I can easily go a week without turning on the TV and I don't feel like I missed much. There are some exceptions of course. I like "Castle", I watch TV shows from Britain (where they still make high quality TV), but overall - at least for me - 99% of the stuff across all the channels is a complete waste of time.

    Moreover, the amount of advertising drives me away from watching anything. When you watch an hour of TV and 20mins of it is advertising, wh

  • From a perspective of having an informed populace, this is probably a good thing. A major aspect of local TV is local TV news which is just awful. Full of emotional strings, whether fear over the latest thing kids are doing, or heartwarming stories about a local cat, they have nothing substantial. And it shows. See for example this study http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/319.pdf [people-press.org] which shows that people in the US who get their news regularly from local TV are less informed than any other group of people ex
  • I guess I must be one of those 8% with IPTV.. Well if that's what you want to call a old PC hooked up to the TV.
    I already had a hacked WRT54G acting as wireless bridge in the equipment cabinet for the Blueray and Dish DVR. Adding a PC was dead simple.
    I can remote control it via Ultra VNC from my laptop or directly by wireless keyboard/mouse sitting by the TV.

    Flat screens have made it easier than ever to watch content off the internet on your TV..
    Between Netflix, Hulu and the great signal I get from the OTA

  • WTF? In five years, with luck, youtube may be smooth on my 12" laptop. For a 50" screen I would guess at maybe 70 years, at the current rate of progress.

  • I can't tell based on the summary if we're talking about local TV or network broadcast TV. I didn't read the articles, of course - that's just absurd.

    The summary talks about Two and a Half Men. That has nothing to do with local TV except that local stations are the distribution mechanism. The local TV stations could dry up and blow away. If the audience were there, the advertisers would be too, and we'd all watch it on Hulu or CBS.com.

    Local TV is mostly about local news - sports, weather, traffic, and stupi

Hacking's just another word for nothing left to kludge.

Working...