Post Election Day blues

This year broadcasters will mourn the passing of the US election season more strongly than they have in the past. As noted in an NPR piece yesterday, the billions spent in television advertising during the primaries and the final election barely covered the advertising revenues lost due to the economic downturn.

Couple this with the finding that about one in five televisions that receive over the air broadcasts will not be upgraded to receive digital signals in February, and it’s clear broadcast television is in for some challenging times. It should be noted that only 15% of US televisions use a traditional antenna. The other 85% will continue to receive satellite and cable signals as they always have, so only 3% of US televisions are slated to become doorstops.

As noted in the NPR piece, many local broadcasters will be motivated to move more offerings online. In tough economic times, internet advertising becomes even more appealing with pay per click pricing models and more precise audience tracking.

Content producers will be producing more content specifically for internet distribution to further differentiate their local news and public affairs offerings in a hyper-competitive environment. Workflow enhancements that speed the process of versioning and publising video online will be in demand.

Most interesting will be to see which platforms and business models broadcasters choose. Will they host their own content? Though much less expensive than building an operating a transmitter, few broadcasters in a tough economy will enthusiastically embrace increased headcounts and infrastructure costs. Look for Akamai and Brightcove to thrive in this environment.

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