YouTube and Facebook taking lion’s share of online video ads, but TV dominates

YouTube and Facebook account for the majority of online video advertising in Europe, but the vast bulk of video advertising still goes to television, according to a report by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

facebook Youtube TV ads

According to the report, Online Video Sharing: Offerings, Audiences, Economic Aspects, which cites a number of third-party data sources, YouTube and Facebook together take a 56% share of the European online video advertising market. In 2018, YouTube took an estimated 32% of the market, with Facebook taking a 24% share. Broadcasters took a 20% share of the market collectively.

Despite the dominance of YouTube and Facebook in online video advertising, the vast bulk of video advertising – 91% – went to television in 2016. However, the growth rate of the online video advertising market is much higher than that of the TV ad market – 21.4% between 2015-16 compared with 2% for the TV advertising market and 11% for the overall online advertising market.

The report also noted that 6-15 year-olds in the UK spend about 20% of their screen time watching online video clips, compared with about 45% watching broadcast TV, 12% watching recorded TV, 6% watching catch-up TV and 10% watching paid for streaming or download services. Over 16s, by contrast spend 63% of their screen time watching broadcast TV, 17% watching recorded TV, 6% watching catch-up TV and 6% watching paid for streaming or download services, and only a very small amount of screen time – 2.9% – watching online video clips.

YouTube is used at least once a month by 93% of western European consumers, according to the report.

Despite the growth on online video and the rise of SVOD, the report cited Recode data from 2017 that shows traditional media companies still account for the bulk of expenditure on original non-sports content, with the top four spenders – NBCUniversal, Time Warner, Fox and Disney all being traditional players, led by NBCUniversal, which spent US$10.2 billion. Netflix comes in at number five with expenditure of US$6.3 billion, while Amazon is number seven with US$4.5 billion. Among technology and social media companies, Apple and Facebook were the top spenders, coming in at number 13 and 14 with spend of about US$1 billion apiece.

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OTT Deployment in the Cloud

Over-the-top (OTT) media delivery has become a must for broadcasters and other video service providers such as cable and satellite operators. Across all age groups and geographic areas, consumers are turning to streaming media on their televisions, computers, and mobile devices in remarkable numbers. Yet, while the business case for offering linear broadcast content via online platforms is proven, delivering online video is more complicated considering that it’s a completely new way of distribution.

The complexity of OTT services is one of the reasons that many video service providers are turning to OTT cloud workflows offered as a service. In the linear realm, broadcasters and other providers needed only to prepare their content for one device. The mode of delivery was completely under their control, and the formats and standards relatively well-established and well-known, even given the industry’s recent embrace of UHD and HDR. None of those things are true today for OTT content. As a new and still evolving technology, streaming media relies on standards and formats that continue to mature, as well as new workflows, hardware and software systems.

By adopting a cloud-based OTT workflow, video service providers can effectively hand off responsibility for the infrastructure and networking supporting their OTT services. They can switch from a CAPEX to an OPEX model, scaling services and associated costs along with their changing needs. Using an established cloud-based provider, they can launch new services quickly without bringing on added technical resources to maintain and manage IT infrastructure. They can experiment with streaming coverage of occasional events, knowing that the OTT provider has the capacity to scale dynamically with the spikes in viewership that can come with high-profile sports or entertainment streaming.

While working with an OTT SaaS provider offers a relatively low-risk, low-cost option for launching and maintaining OTT services, the success of this venture depends on consistent delivery of engaging content at a high quality. Monitoring is critical, particularly as there are so many new factors that can undermine quality of experience (QoE) or quality of service (QoS) and, in turn, compromise the competitiveness of the service.

Why Monitoring Is a Must for OTT

The challenge of sending high-quality signals over the public internet is one obvious reason to integrate monitoring into the cloud-based OTT workflow. Issues can arise in other parts of the delivery process, as well, as content is repurposed based on the user device, the quality/bandwidth of the delivery is changed based on the network congestion, and content is pulled by individual consumers rather than broadcast to multitudes.

While content is created in multiple versions — each encoded at a different bit rate and profile — to address varying network conditions, it also must be transcoded to multiple incompatible delivery formats — such as HLS, DASH, MSS, and HDS — to cater to a wide gamut of devices and their varying screen sizes. To ensure the security of content streams, OTT content then must be encrypted with a DRM protection scheme such as Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine, or Apple FairPlay.

If these factors are not addressed, and if the QoE or QoS for a particular streaming offering simply are not up to par, customers can refocus their attention and choose to view content from an array of other sources. To keep the streaming product competitive, the online delivery strategy must include monitoring at all the critical points in the workflow. All content must go through proper testing, validation, and monitoring so that any problems can be addressed proactively.

Monitoring is particularly important at the content preparation stage because the content made available to the origin server winds up being distributed to a variety of different places including CDNs and edge servers. If the quality of content is somehow compromised at the preparation stage, then issues with audio or video will propagate to all those other places to which the content is distributed.

Broadcasters today are beginning to deploy QC and monitoring probes both on-premises and in the cloud so that they can detect QoE issues for live and VOD content at each step of the workflow. Using a combination of active and passive monitoring techniques in a complementary manner, they can reduce the network jitter that can occur at the on-premises encoding step and ensure the consistency of video quality throughout packaging and distribution via the cloud.

An effective QC and monitoring system will enable the broadcaster to keep an eye on content-related, encryption-related, server-related, and delivery issues that can threaten QoE. By providing a consolidated, single-screen view of both linear and OTT workflows, the monitoring system can help to accelerate fault identification and troubleshooting.

Moving Monitoring to the Cloud

Online media delivery gives video service providers a tremendous opportunity to reach more people and monetize more of their content. But the move into OTT does not happen without some expense, whether in terms of content, infrastructure, or other costs. Thus, implementation of a cost-effective monitoring solution can help to keep costs down.

While traditional broadcast delivery generally has relied upon custom hardware solutions for common media processing tasks, today’s move toward software-based solutions brings greater efficiency and scalability to these operations while lowering costs. By taking advantage of cloud-based services, including monitoring, video service providers can start small and increase capacity or functionality as their business demands. Rather than worry about what kind of equipment to get, how many licenses to buy, or what kind of staff to put in place, they can be rest assured that the monitoring services will match the changing needs of their OTT offering.

Because monitoring service expansion is taken care of by the SaaS provider, the video service provider can focus on other important aspects of content, devoting attention and resources toward tasks that will help it better create and monetize content.

Typical well organised OTT SAAS Players are Tradecast and Interra Systems

News UK finds domain spoofing causes $1 million a month in lost revenue

To investigate the level of domain spoofing occurring against its news brands, News UK conducted a programmatic blackout test for two hours in December. The result: 2.9 million bids per hour were made on fake inventory purporting to be News UK’s The Sun and The Times of London newspaper brands.

From the results, the publisher estimates that marketers are wasting £700,000 ($950,000) on domain-spoofed inventory per month. A total of 650,000 ad requests were made each hour, according to the publisher.

The publisher conducted the test between 3a.m. and 5 a.m. on Dec. 4, deliberately choosing a time that would be less disruptive to site visitors and wouldn’t hamper revenues or ongoing campaigns. The publisher shut down all programmatic advertising on its sites, including all supply-side platforms, its header bidding wrapper and all networks. During this time, it was impossible to buy programmatic inventory on The Sun, the Times or News UK’s fantasy football brand Dream Team. That made it easy to isolate inventory that still appeared to be offered on its sites as fraudulent.

The publisher wouldn’t name the SSPs, but The Sun’s partners include Google AdX, Rubicon Project, AppNexus, Index Exchange, PubMatic and Amazon’s A9, according to its ads.txt file. The Times’ ads.txt file lists Google AdX, Rubicon Project, AppNexus, Index Exchange, PubMatic,, OpenX and Sovrn. For the test, News UK chose to focus on inventory bought via its six biggest SSP suppliers.

The 2.9 million impressions were found to be across two specific SSPs, though one of those two had significantly higher fraudulent inventory within it, according to Ben Walmsley, digital commercial director for News UK, though he wouldn’t specify their names. The other partner showed some fraudulent activity, although mainly through three network vendors selling inventory that appeared to be from News UK titles. Two of the SSPs were totally clean, and the remaining two haven’t yet provided their data logs to the News UK team for that two-hour window, according to the publisher.

Most of the fraudulent inventory discovered was display, although there was also evidence of spoofed video inventory. The Times is a subscriptions title and doesn’t sell any pre-roll ads, let alone programmatically, so any video inventory purporting to be from the Times is fraudulent. The Financial Times also saw this occur across its own video inventory when it conducted its own domain-spoofing investigation.

“We wanted to expose where brands are being tricked into thinking they’re buying quality inventory, bidding on what they think is a premium site when it isn’t,” Walmsley said.

News UK has been in close contact with the SSPs, all of which have been cooperative and responsive, according to Walmsley. No deadline for removing the fraudulent inventory has been set for the SSP found to be carrying the most on its platform. Walmsley stressed the publisher wants to remain on good terms with its tech vendors and that it’s only by cultivating strong relationships with vendors, brand partners and agencies that fraudsters can be rooted out. “We’re all victims in one way or another,” he said. “If the SSPs hadn’t taken it seriously, then it might have been different, but they were very keen to address it.”

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Consumers unconvinced by Virtual Reality’s future

The BBC has revealed it undertook a research programme into VR encompassing market sizing, a mix of existing ‘media needs’ research and a longitudinal ethnographic study. The Corporation recruited teens and adults from across the UK who were interested in VR but had little experience with it, giving each of them each a mid-range mobile VR headset for three months.

For the first few weeks the users asked participants to play with the hardware every day, discovering VR experiences themselves, and trying suggested content which had previously been researched and found to be of superior quality. Participants also joined an online community to talk about their experiences.

The BBC visited them in their homes in the first two weeks, and interviewed them at weeks 8 and 14, part way through and at the end of the study.

The following blog post by Time Fiennes, Senior Market Manager, revealed the findings:

What did our participants think about VR before they’d actually tried it?

Those with prior experience of basic entry-level mobile VR expected to be underwhelmed; others expected VR to be a futuristic, shiny technology, but were not entirely sure of its sophistication. Unsurprisingly many associated it with gaming. A few were concerned about the experiences they were about to have – they had heard stories of getting nauseous, they didn’t want to look silly in front of friends and family – or indeed, get pranked by them!

In summary, new-comers to VR are unsure about what to expect and about the type of experiences they want to have. But they are excited, and their first experience didn’t disappoint…

How did participants react to their first experience?

We found our participants were equally enthralled and delighted. Their initial – fairly low – expectations were far outstripped in terms of the quality of the experience and the very nature of being immersed in virtual reality.

However, this in itself presents a nuanced marketing challenge. The industry has difficulty communicating what VR experiences are actually like. Given the wide variety of technology which can determine the nature and quality of experience, setting the right level of expectation for audiences such that they don’t come away underwhelmed is tricky.

What content were participants initially drawn to?

Generally participants wanted to get straight to experiences designed to get your blood pumping, things like horror, rollercoasters and other extreme experiences that had some novelty value.

What they were not doing was discovering a wide variety of other experiences available to them (more on that later).

We found that when we suggested particular pieces of content, the appeal of VR can go far beyond the novel and extreme, and that audiences can have profound experiences.

What impact did the VR experiences have on participants?

Participants loved VR which allowed you to:

walk in someone else’s shoes to better understand the world (e.g. experiencing what it’s like to lose your sight – Notes on Blindness).
experience something you wouldn’t normally do (e.g. sky-diving – although the novelty factor wore off quickly so it’s likely you’d watch these sorts of things a small number of times).
learn effectively (e.g. become microscopic and travel through the body to learn about anatomy – like the The Body VR);
remove all distraction, enabling focus on activities like relaxation.
This last type of experience threw out a few surprises. Our participants frequently came back to watching traditional 2-D widescreen content in a virtual cinema – i.e. watching traditional content on ‘the biggest screen in the house’. This was everything from long-form scripted content from popular VOD providers through to music videos on YouTube.

We know from broader media behaviour research that audiences will tend to seek out the best screen available when watching long-form video; however, whether a virtual big screen counts ‘as the best screen available’ given the resolution challenges devices currently have is questionable – it would certainly appear the largest though.

Our emerging hypothesis is that headsets provide audiences with a rare opportunity to engage with content utterly free from distraction. The rise of the smartphone being rarely away from one’s side means that it can often be challenging for audiences to be fully immersed in any kind of activity. A recent eye-tracking study from Facebook found that 94% of US consumers kept a smartphone to hand when watching TV. Headsets are a helpful blocker to being distracted by multiple mediums.

What are the other characteristics of content which worked?

From an industry perspective we are still developing the VR story-telling grammar around producing content that works.

By spending time with real people and talking to them about their experiences, we were able to pull out a few key insights into what got them excited and why.

First, leading the audience on a journey is crucial; experiences without a narrative or goal tended to fall flat – experiences with good story-telling or clear objectives worked well.
Second, making the most of the unique possibilities of VR. Playing with scale was particularly evident here – for example ‘The Body VR’ shrinking you to a cellular level. Presence and embodiment were also important asthe viewer must feel ‘there’ to be immersed. For example, a Cirque du Soleil experience resonated because the characters made plenty of eye contact with the viewer.
Third, recognising the risk of cognitive overload: audiences need time to process and understand what is happening around them before being able to follow a narrative. When and where to draw their attention is also fundamentally important.
Experiences that do these things well can blow audiences away and provide a real depth of emotional engagement.

The challenges…

So, to recap the story so far: audiences are excited, albeit uncertain about the prospect of the new technology; they love having adrenalin-fuelled experiences to begin with, but the novelty can dissipate fast; content with a clear narrative that thinks about the audiences’ experience is crucial; and there’s an opportunity to have a real world impact, and to add value to people’s media routines.

However, we’ve identified four challenging areas that need to be kept in mind when assessing the opportunity VR presents. These are:

The occasion in which VR will be used.
The hardware.
Discovery of content and the current poor user experience.
The play-out.
There are evidently a range of behavioural barriers to overcome before VR will be habitual. These include:

Safety and security – some audiences were concerned about being shut-off from what’s happening around them.
Social norming – some were anxious about feeling stupid in front of friends, or self-conscious about their appearance, hair and make-up.
Physical space – often audiences weren’t in the right physical situation – sitting down on a sofa after a long day or lying in bed is not conducive to an experience which necessitates turning around and looking behind you.
Proximity of headset – the headset needs to be conveniently available. Many of us will have hundreds of potentially entertaining distractions in our homes; however, it will tend to be the ones which are the most visible / proximate / easy to engage with which we use. If a headset has been put away on a shelf, in a cupboard, or under a bed, it will not be front of mind.
Social interaction – for some audiences the insular / individual nature of the experience was off-putting as they preferred connecting with others either digitally or in physical space.
This underlines how the issue of how VR integrates into real lives in the home is of great importance. To overcome this the VR industry needs to give care to making seamless experiences in occasions and settings that are appealing to audiences.

The hardware

If you have decided you want to try some VR, you have found your headset, you’re in a social situation and geographical context you feel safe, you then have the hardware to contend with:

Often the headsets or the screens of the phone will be dirty – if not cleaned this will significantly diminish the quality of the experience, blurring or obscuring the images.
The phone must be charged: headsets are often used at the end of the day – after school, college or work, often when the phone is low on power.
Then of course you have to find something to consume

If you haven’t used your headset for a while, you might forget how to use it – many of our participants found the user interface to be tricky in any case.
Often the way to navigate around various VR environments differs from app to app – adding to frustration.
The way in which content is then presented to audiences is a challenge. We found that when our participants were left to discover content themselves, they rarely ventured out of the main app; by themselves they found very little of the high quality content we had given them. Their discovery was mostly limited to gimmicky, adrenalin-focussed and games-orientated experiences, resulting in the novelty factor wearing off quickly.
Audiences need to be exposed to content they might not automatically choose to expand their range of tastes in VR. There is room for intelligent content curation from trusted brands which takes into account the different usage occasions, the different types audience needs, and the goal of expanding VR beyond novelty experiences for audiences.

Once participants had found something to consume, the play-out also caused problems

Many handsets overheated after 30 or so minutes of usage.
Variable Wi-Fi quality leading to poor content resolutions and slow download speeds was also limiting.
The content itself

The industry is obviously still learning, but there is a risk of sub-par experiences flooding the market and turning audiences off the idea of VR altogether. We found that much of the content available didn’t add any value over and above consuming the same sort of thing on a TV screen.

A typical comment was “If the content could have been just as easily consumed on a TV screen, why go the effort of watching it immersively?”

For the occasion to be worthwhile, the content must be a special experience that could only have been conveyed in VR and not through any other media.

Thoughts for the future

VR in-home entertainment definitely has massive potential. Headsets will get cheaper and more content will be made. Some content will have substantial impact. These are potentially great things for creators, the public service and the audience.

But when thinking about the audience first, we’ve seen there are some challenges that need to be addressed for VR to realise its potential. For VR to be successful it needs simple, intuitive and consistent interfaces, better curation and content discovery, and a higher supply of quality content which is ‘worth the effort’.

When experiencing problems, audiences don’t particularly care if it’s the hardware, the software, the content or anything in-between that causes a glitch. They just want good experiences and become frustrated when this isn’t possible.

This is exemplified in how our participants responded at the end of the 14 weeks, upon giving the hardware back to us – when asked “Would you now go and buy a VR headset”, they said that with the current mix of content and difficulties with the hardware they would not, but may consider it in the future.

Many of you will recognise this hype curve showing the typical cycle of new technology. But it isn’t a given that all technology becomes mainstream. Think 3D TV.

When thinking about VR in-home entertainment, there could be another trough of disillusionment if we don’t address these challenges.

This is clearly a challenge for the VR industry. Hardware, platforms, and content creators need to be aware of the limitations of technology, but also of the real world context in which audiences will be interacting with VR. This sounds straightforward, but in the fragmented VR landscape, there are a variety of experiences and it’s not clear this is going to be solved automatically.

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Facebook introduces New Ad Inventory

As Facebook’s news feed increasingly moves from text to video, the social network is rolling out a new feature on desktop that makes clips more prominent.

In February, Facebook rolled out a mobile feature called watch and scroll that lets people keep watching organic videos and ads as they scroll through news feeds. Now, the feature is available to all desktop users, meaning consumers who use it can see two videos at once in a news feed, opening up potentially new ad inventory.

Here’s how it works: As users discover videos in their news feeds, they can click on icons that appear on videos or click to turn a clip’s sound on since videos automatically play silently. The side-by-side view then appears on the left side of the screen as users scroll past the clip in the news feed. Users can move the video across the screen. Once a clip is finished, a replay icon briefly appears on the page before the video disappears. Such a “sticky” or “pinned” video player is a tactic many publishers, including CNN and USA Today, have used on their websites to keep video content viewable as users read news articles.

As more users, brands and publishers upload video to the platform, Facebook has actively developed more video products and is reportedly in talks with publishers and creators to make TV-quality original programs specifically for the platform, though Re/code reports the time line for those efforts has been pushed back.

Facebook has also warned investors over the past year about ad load concerns as it begins to max out the ratio of organic posts to ads. Watch and scroll could open up new ad inventory as a way for Facebook to show two videos at once. In recent months, publishers have started adding ad breaks to their clips as a way to make money off of live videos.

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Buyers Expect Advanced Advertising to Grow

Advertisers and media agencies plan to increase their advanced TV advertising activities, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of advertising software firm Videology by Advertiser Perceptions. The survey found that 57% of buyers said they have used advanced TV advertising in the past 12 months, with 75% saying they plan to in the next 12 months.

Of those currently spending in advanced TV advertising, 57% said they plan to increase their data-enabled TV budget this year.
Linear advertising was employed by 88% of the respondents in the past 12 months. Only 77% said they plan to use linear TV in the next 12 months.

A majority of respondents—64%—said they expect more than half of TV buying will be programmatic within 3 to 5 years.

“Advertisers and agencies are rapidly seeing the benefit of applying data and automation to their linear TV buys because it gives them the best of both worlds: the reach and viewing experience of TV, with the strategic targeting of digital,” says Scott Ferber, founder and CEO, Videology.

“While this survey focused on the demand side, we are seeing similar enthusiasm from media companies who see data-enablement as a way of capturing greater value from their audiences, both in TV and across devices. With buyers and sellers both recognizing the value in more addressable, audience-based advertising, the marketplace can now truly accelerate,” said Ferber.

Though the survey indicates advanced advertising is growing, there are still many buyers with questions.

More than half of the advertisers and agency execs said they don’t understand the difference between data-enabled TV and addressable TV. And 20% said their advanced advertising is still being funded from a test or experimental budget.

more here (including a link to the full report:

Building A Brand In A New Era Of Broadcasting

In January, the Catholic League tweeted out a “study” purportedly detailing that right-wingers are better looking than left-wingers, using FOX News and MSNBC anchors as exemplars. KARE 11 Breaking the News anchor Jana Shortal retweeted the tweet with these comments: Gross. You really should think about how in any way this tweet reflects the values of an organization of faith.

A few days after Carrie Fisher’s death, Shortal tweeted: She was so proud of EXACTLY who she is. Fuck, was.

Regarding President Trump’s Twitter habit, she tweeted: The leader of this country should take questions—not tweet his way to policy.

After musician Chris Brown hurled a racist insult at comic Aziz Ansari, who had insulted Brown on SNL, she tweeted: I wish there were trap doors in the ground to swallow up human garbage like you Chris Brown. #TeamAziz

This wasn’t always the path to getting ahead in TV news. It used to be: Look good, don’t swear, dress conservatively, keep divisive opinions to yourself.

Today it’s not so simple. Something extra is required to make it in broadcasting. “People need to find a way to get noticed,” says Micah Johnson, a former network reporter, news director, and founder of Phoenix-based TV news talent agency MediaStars.

In January, Christine O’Donnell, TV reporter for FOX’s Boston affiliate, thought she had found a way. She posted to a video to YouTube showing herself in bed, the straps of her nightgown visible on her bare shoulders. The news: She had gotten up several hours too early for work! It seemed interesting to her at the time, and just provocative enough, perhaps, to generate some clicks or likes. But after a day of pillorying on social media, her bio had been pulled off the station’s website and she was apparently out of a job. “There are so many expectations to build a brand, to perform,” says Johnson. “But there’s no mentoring or guidance. And when you f-up, you’re fired.”

Not your parents’ TV news

It’s no revelation to say media businesses in America are in flux, and television news is no exception. Its audience has been disrupted by the internet, a diversity of cable and streaming options and time-shifting of prime-time TV viewing. And a generation has tuned out.

“18- to 34-year-olds are not news consumers, and TV is not their main source of news,” explains Bob Papper, Hofstra University professor emeritus, who has conducted an annual study of the television news industry since 1994. Millennials consume TV news the same way they read newspapers or viral video—in brief, detached bits on their phone.

“You’re fighting to have your voice heard,” explains 1500 ESPN Radio personality Phil Mackey. “Rely on the old tactics and you’ll be dead or dying.”

The result is a sense of fundamental instability. “TV news’ business model is under siege,” says local entertainment industry attorney Tom Wiese, who once represented dozens of local TV anchors and reporters. “TV is competing with non-accredited news, there are limited barriers to entry and advertisers are creating their own content.”

The omnipotence of the previous era is gone. “We are not the empire of the ’80s and ’90s,” says Shortal. “Appointment TV is not a thing.”

Building a personal brand

There was a time when all someone needed to build a successful broadcasting career was a home at a respected brand like WCCO Radio or the StarTribune. “Today, people read people, not companies,” contends Star Tribune food and travel writer Amelia Rayno, who has built a sizable presence and brand on social media. “People want to know the people they read.”

And the phenomenon extends across media. As a result, “you’ve gotta have point of view and presence,” Wiese counsels his clients.

WCCO-TV sports director Mark Rosen says the calculus isn’t lost on veterans like him: “You have to stand out, you have to be unique.” For Rosen, now 65, that meant jumping on morning radio (KQRS) back in 1986, a niche he continues to occupy today, which continues to deliver upside. “It keeps me relatable. It’s definitely helped my brand because of the young male demographic [listening to KFAN],” he says, “and I would hope it brings benefits to my TV brand.”

Though diversifying audience is a solid tactic, young broadcasters rarely have that opportunity or flexibility early in careers. As a result, most are using social media to build a brand.

“To get a job, it’s the first thing they look at after your [clip] reel,” says agent Mendes Napoli, who ran KSTP-TV’s news division from 1988-93 and now owns LA-based Napoli Management Group. “To build an audience you must be active in social media and have a distinct presence.” Both Napoli and Johnson describe social media technique and strategy as a primary component of the service they provide clients. “Our concentration is social media influencers,” says Johnson.

How important is social media in TV newsrooms? Texas-based ShareRocket markets real-time tracking of talent social media influence. Three national TV ownership groups, including FOX Television (FOX9 locally), are investors, and Johnson says many FOX affiliates have a ShareRocket monitor posted prominently in the newsroom.

The payoff of social media influence is real, Johnson insists. MediaStars secured Jenni Hogan, then a KIRO-TV traffic reporter, a six-figure salary “solely due to social media presence,” he says. Johnson is quick to note, though, that creating such a presence is no small feat: “To be an influencer in social you have to do it constantly.”

The social media channel of choice is Facebook. “Twitter is easy, but there’s less engagement,” explains Napoli. “We advise clients to focus on Facebook.”

The social minefield

The most notable common denominator among young local broadcasters feeling pressure to deliver social media influence is the sense of jeopardy involved. “Most of it is boring and not engaging,” says Wiese, “because shock and awe could cost you big time.”

Former WCCO-TV morning anchor Jamie Yuccas, now with CBS in New York, relates the story of a young broadcaster she knows who was told by her news director “to add 100 followers ‘this week.’ Didn’t say how.”

In local TV, Yuccas found an audience craving personal detail. “People want a connection with news personalities in local markets, but it’s such a fine line between your private and public life.” For example, “it’s clear women add followers when they tweet pictures of themselves, but they are often inappropriate,” argues Yuccas. “But they are under pressure, and management isn’t providing great guidance.”

$45,000 to $80,000
Twin Cities
TV reporter salary

$100,000 to $500,000
Twin Cities
TV anchor salary

Source: Micah Johnson, MediaStars

Ex-newsroom execs like Johnson and Napoli say the murky social media landscape is often a blind spot for news directors. “[Managers] don’t know what they want,” says Napoli, “but they know what they don’t want when they see it.”

Local broadcasters point to colleagues who post images from the gym or home in outfits they could never wear on-air. Johnson says it’s a national phenomenon: “People post racy stuff because it builds likes and follows.”

“Newspeople aren’t always thoughtful about how they use social media,” adds Yuccas. “I was in Orlando after the [Pulse nightclub shooting] and a lot of TV people were posting happy images of themselves. That’s detrimental to your brand.”

Step in the wrong topic, and newsies can even be chastened tweeting news. “I tweeted a link to a story about the Democratic boycott of the Trump inauguration,” says Cory Hepola, KARE 11 weekend anchor and reporter, “and people got angry even though it was just factual.”

Which is why broadcast reporters often default to the personal.

On the print side, there are few rules, and young journalists feel empowered. “There is a culture of sharing and you have strong feelings. We put so much out there. It’s super-tempting to cross lines,” says Rayno. “We have very few policies or rules. . . . I was once asked to stop tweeting about alcohol.”

Those trying to build a durable career in television can take comfort in certain constants. “People watch people they like,” says Napoli. “Genuine people that speak with authority, not arrogance, and are connected to the community. That hasn’t changed.” Hofstra’s Papper suggests the industry has sustained itself so well through its structural decline that “It has hindered development of a digital strategy. But the challenges are undeniable.”

So undeniable, in fact, that TV news’ foundational product may be obsolete. “I doubt the 30-minute newscast has staying power,” says KARE’s Hepola. “Local news has staying power. Trusted facts have staying power. Storytelling is timeless.”

read more here: