This might be the most important post yet.
I’ll throw out some statistics and admit that they are rounded by the failing memory of the author, but pretty close.
Now there is a sigh of relief in the industry because, “(whew) auto is coming back.” Baloney. There is a major correction and wakeup call coming and when it hits it is going to cause a lot of pain at local television stations.
A few years ago I worked on a project that gave me the opportunity to talk with the fellow who, at the time, was running the statewide dealers association advertising group for one of the big car manufacturers. He told me that 85% of people who buy a new car, do so from a dealer that is within 5-8 miles of their home.
The ability to target advertising by location is evolving every day. Car dealers that advertise on your local newscast are paying to reach the entire market. The minute they have the ability to draw a 5-8 mile circle around their dealerships and hit those people, they are going to do it, don’t think for a minute they won’t. Even rich car dealers only have so much money in their advertising budgets. It just makes common sense, where would you put your money, all over the market, or the place where each dollar more effectively reaches people who will shop with you?
In two seconds I can find a hundred places to advertise to basket weavers, or any other group. Basket weavers buy new cars, so do people who eat bagels, as do camera buffs. Weather is one of the few remaining general interest topics. If you were the advertising manager for the local car dealership, would you rather search out and deal with the basket weavers, and then the bagel eaters and then the camera buffs, or would you buy weather?
Read the latest post from Terry Heaton. The message is about pre-roll ads which is not the important point to this post. The important part is that advertisers are being given the message (and starting to understand) that they need to move their dollars online.
There seems to me to be a lot of confusion among old media broadcasters about digital weather products in the form of old vs. new. Websites and mobile apps are largely automated while the newscast is live. Weather videos for online are taped maybe twice a day. If you did a 2:00pm newscast on TV would you run the weather segment you taped during the network morning show? Of course not. If your user decides she needs weather information at 2:00pm, she can get the same automated data from a hundred different places, including the other guys in your market. Understand this…at some point one of the stations in your market is going to figure out that there is value in real time weather. Most of them will wait until the other guy does it first, and wait to figure out how to monetize it, but eventually they will all do it. They guy who does it first (you) will have a head start in the minds of the users.
So, should you put a forecast product online, or save it for the newscast? Both. Where are your users? Everywhere. (not just in front of the TV or on your website)