Candidates Help Indiana Newspapers Steal Live TV Market
Could newspapers grab the live TV market? Hillary and Obama are proving it's possible.
It would seem that the outlook is grim for small American newspaper publishers. Print circulation continues its decline and classified ads are flooding to fast, free online platforms like Craigslist.
But as Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigned this week in Indiana, a phenomenon was born, and a previously padlocked door thrown wide open to local newspaper publishers. For a few hours, several newspaper websites temporarily became live television broadcasters.
Video on news websites is nothing new. Around 2005, news websites like CNN and the NY Times began adding on-demand video clips. These clips are typically short and well-produced, enhancing a recent major story. Last year Kurt Anderson wrote in New York Magazine that newspapers "might just beat TV news at its own game." But until recently, the opportunity only existed for large news organizations with the budget to support video production teams and custom content delivery networks like Brightcove.
Now a new generation of consumer-focused video platforms are finding a surprising set of adopters: small newspapers. Following a partnership with live video platform Mogulus, two Indiana-based Gannett newspapers have been streaming live video coverage of campaigning by neck-and-neck Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. [Disclosure: GroundReport TV is powered by Mogulus. ]
Senator Obama appeared first in a live broadcast of his meeting with editors of the Indianapolis Star. GroundReport later reported here and on Huffington Post that Obama failed to articulate policy differences between himself and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
The Indy Star did the same when Senator Clinton visited their offices for a press meeting. Then the Journal & Courier went live with video coverage when Clinton spoke in Lafayette.
The development seems obvious. Newspaper websites already have strong traffic in their markets, and typically provide all the media build-up to major live events. But at the moment of the event, they drop out of the process, allowing TV stations to cover the show, picking up afterwards. Now they can have it all.
Live coverage also requires less pre- and post-production to achieve industry standards for quality. Many smaller papers don't have the money or staff to engage in sophisticated video production.
Many big sites like CNN.com and MSNBC.com already stream live events, and time will tell if adoption becomes ubiquitous for smaller sites. In the meantime, it's interesting to see the effect on Indiana campaigning: proving the strength of their web support, Obama's broadcast had thousands of viewers, with over 20,000 visitors during his talk. Hillary Clinton brought in just a few hundred.
Tags: Obama , Clinton , Video , Newspapers , Gannett
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