Nearly 76% of stations share their content with other local media, down 2 1/2% from last year, according to a new survey from RTDNA/Hofstra University. The smallest stations in the biggest markets came in around the 66% mark, while 57% of Fox affiliates are involved in shares.
Of the 719 TV stations producing local news, just over 31% run news on another nearby TV station.
Fox affiliates were more likely to be involved with cable channels but less likely to be involved with another TV or radio station in the market. Stations in the Northeast were noticeably more likely to be involved with another TV station, cable channel and station in another market than stations in other parts of the U.S.
Local news cooperatives got popular during the recession, cutting costs while, as the broadcast leaders often said, freeing up resources for more enterprising reporting. A majority of stations have a cooperative arrangement with another medium, reported RTDNA/Hofstra. The numbers of co-ops is flat with last year. TV stations are actually partnering a little less with other TV stations, while sharing more with corporate and websites.
Cooperative ventures are likely declining. Three years ago, 28.6% of stations not involved in a cooperative venture said they were planning or discussing one. That dropped to 24.8% two years ago, then plunged to 16% last year and down again this year to 15.3%. Survey author Bob Papper called it a “pretty clear-cut trend.”
Stations are running less information on their digital channels, noted Papper, with “news and “weather” dropping by half a point as entertainment channels such as Me-TV get more widespread.
Meanwhile, the rate of growth for HD broadcasting continues to slow: Up 10 points a year ago and just under 8 this year. Almost all the HD growth in the last year took place in markets 101+.
Almost two-thirds (64.8%) of TV news directors said they're shopping for new technology this year. That includes multimedia journalist (MMJ) equipment. Last year, the rate of MMJ adoption was unchanged, but this year increased by around 5%.
The current year marks Papper’s 20th running the local broadcast survey. “I want to thank all of you who spend what I know is way too much time poring over the way too many questions that I ask on this survey,” he said.