Wow. That was tough to write, but in order to be the objective faux-journalist that I loosely claim to be, it had to be said. Anyways, let’s move on.
Last night as I was dozing off on the couch watching high quality US Network television that is not currently in re-runs, I came across a commercial for one of the network’s local affiliates 11 o’clock news. Since my post about online video viewers and traditional TV watchers, I’ve thought a lot about the fact that not everyone uses media in the same way. In fact, we may be at a point in history in which humanity’s individual methods of communication and information gathering have never been more different from one generation, or even one person to the next. This particular 11 o’clock “Action” News commercial made this fact all too clear to me again.
The ad was set up to encourage viewers to switch from the competitors 11 o’clock (presumably also “Action”) Newscast based on one fact and one fact alone – this 11 o’clock “Action” News has a weather report in the first 10 minutes!!! Not only was the voice over guy ECSTATIC about this fact, but a host of streeter testimonials from local residents (I’m assuming from Buffalo, though I’m not sure) also confirmed that this is certainly a highly motivating factor in choosing an “Action” newscast.
My reaction: ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Is that REALLY a legitimate reason to tune into a piece of LINEAR programming???
I managed to fight off slumber to consider this for a moment. In spite of the fact that a detailed weather report for your exact area might be one of the easiest things to locate on the web, that weather widgets are one of the most prolific online and mobile weather updates were one of the first useful features available on a phone, people still turn to the local nightly newscast to determine if they’re going to need an umbrella tomorrow?? Really??? I mean, even if you’re somehow don’t have the internet in this day and age, there are 24 cable channels dedicated exclusively to 24 a day local weather!!! Now before I completely run amok with overstated punctuation in this paragraph, let me get to my point.
In a climate where audiences are diversifying so rapidly, there’s always going to be a need for services that fall outside of what someone (like me) would consider “the norm”. In this case, we’re seeing an ambitious “Action” News producer who is falling back to a tactic which would have been heavily employed in a pre-internet era. I might have a weather widget on my desktop that instantly lets me know what’s going on each time I glance at my computer screen (which is constantly on). But I’m apparently not the audience for the 11 o’clock “Action” news, which was confirmed by the testimonials from people who are likely not the type of people you would find in my social circles. Not every audience wants “the latest” way to consume information. Some would just prefer to wait until 11 to watch 8 minutes of “Action” news, a 2 minute forecast, and then hit the sack rather than PVR their way through 3 commercial-free episodes of “American Gladiators” for their fill of “Action” and then just check their desktop in the morning.
Understanding this difference is what niche marketing is all about – and I almost fell asleep at the switch and missed re-learning that important message. So don’t go dozing off out there okay?