Matter Chatter

Pitching TV the EZ Way

Many of my old contacts in the television world are now looking for jobs, have been absorbed into government media relations positions or are changing titles and helping television transition into this new video age. It is the third group that has been a wealth of valuable information on new ways to get television coverage for clients and events. Many stations are trying to keep it quiet, but in several markets there is a new video service for TV stations that you can utilize as a valuable coverage tool.

Reporters aren’t the only employees feeling the sting of unemployment. Photographers are losing their gigs left, right and center. The problem with laying off photographers is that the length of a newscast doesn’t change and there is still a need to cough up an hour’s worth of compelling video. The solution in a growing number of markets is LNS (Local News Service). Chicago was one of the first markets to launch an LNS program that has been widely successful. Here is essentially how it works:

The local CBS station and the local Fox affiliate both contribute two photographers and an assignment editor to LNS, in return both stations get to use the video that all four photographers shot. In Chicago they have four of the five local affiliates contributing to LNS, so each station gets four times the amount of video for the price of one photographer. Because the video isn’t exclusive, LNS focuses on events in which every station would typically send crews (such as a press conference or sports events).

Boston has quietly launched an LNS project between Fox 25 (WFXT) and WBZ (CBS 4). It has only been in existence since July first officially, but already there are rumblings that NECN and WCVB may be the next two media outlets to join.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss best practices in pitching your local LNS outlet.

  • Jeff Atkinson

    Nice writing style. I look forward to reading more in the future.

  • John McElhenny

    Interesting stuff, Bill. The idea behind LNS — competing news outlets pooling resources to save money and still have enough news content — is exactly the reason the Associated Press was founded in the 1840s. That later led to UPI and other news-sharing efforts. Perhaps in this aspect the future of the news business will resemble its past.