Study: Viewers Turn to Local TV News in Tough Times
April 5, 2009
-By Katy Bachman of MediaWeek.com
When times are tough, people turn more often to local TV for news. According to a new study by Frank N. Magid Associates for Hearst-Argyle Television, 99 percent of respondents said they are turning to local TV news at least as much as or more frequently than in the past due to the troubled economy.
Conducted over two weeks in February, the study surveyed 2,500 TV news viewers in Hearst-Argyle's 24 TV markets including Boston, Baltimore, Orlando, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.
Sixteen percent said they are following local TV news "more." The only medium surpassing local TV was the Internet, cited by 17 percent of respondents. Newspapers, radio and print magazines trailed at 10 percent, 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
Commercials airing on local TV news engage consumers more than other traditional media. When asked which types of ads respondents pay more attention to, 57 percent cited local TV versus 43 percent for magazines; 64 percent versus 36 percent for newspapers, 72 percent versus 28 percent for radio, 81 percent versus 19 percent for yellow pages, and 55 percent versus 45 percent for direct mail. Respondents also found local TV ads more engaging than all forms of online ads, on average 85 percent for local TV versus 15 percent for online ads.
Local news also got the highest scores compared to other media for creating "buzz," having memorable ads, and the medium was on par with print magazines for trustworthiness and recall. Local news was also on par with print newspapers as the most important source of community information.
Although the audience to early morning news is growing, 62 percent said that late news is the daypart during which they typically watch local news; 58 percent cited early news (between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.) as the favored daypart; and 49 percent cited the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Only 11 percent named midday news (between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.).