Tuesday, August 25, 2009

KXAN Gets Aggressive

New Media Matters

Multi-platform: Adjective. Frequently used in 2009 to describe LIN Television’s (TVL) newsgathering activities. See LIN TV’s second quarter 2009 report:

“Commenting on the second quarter of 2009, LIN TV’s President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent L.Sadusky said: ‘During these tough times, we are focused on the rigorous execution of several new strategic initiatives, including our multi-platform, newsgathering and cost efficiency plans, which will help make us a leaner and more focused multi-media company.’” [Emphasis Added]

To that end, LIN TV Austin, KXAN TV (NBC) and KNVA (CW) are again moving to back up those words with action by hiring a new media director away from its toughest competitor. Larry Sanders joins LIN TV after six years with Cox Communications, including three years as the General Manager of statesman.com and Austin360.com. During his tenure at statesman.com, the website ranked #1 for online, local content and consistently grew its audience.

Sanders also worked six years with USATODAY.com, ending up as Vice President and General Manager.

“Larry has a proven new media track record, he understands the Austin market, and he can help us serve our purpose to the community by delivering the best local news and weather online content,” said Eric Lassberg, president and general manager of LIN TV Austin in a prepared news release.

KXAN TV also has job posting for a web site “managing editor & community manager” and a “multi-platform journalist”.

Also, earlier this month LIN TV announced the expansion of its mobile offerings to include a new application for BlackBerry smartphones, according to a LIN corporate news release. LIN TV is using News Over Wireless’s (NOW) technology to develop custom BlackBerry smartphone applications for each of its 27 local television stations including KXAN-TV. The app provides instantaneous and on-demand access to its local news, sports, and entertainment, as well as video, weather forecasts and traffic reports to BlackBerry smartphone subscribers. You may have seen the promotional spots touting the TV station as the first in the Austin market to tap into Blackberries. Best of all perhaps, it is free.

While these tools may help KXAN/KNVA with a leg up in the multi-platform market, Sanders must know that he and his new media shop will have to climb a steep slope to catch statesman.com for audience domination.

Meantime, competitor KEYE TV (CBS) continues to be rated the best web site among broadcasters having won first place in the Texas Association Press Broadcasters competition in 2008 and 2009 and an Edward R. Murrow regional award for best web site in 2007. KEYE’s new media staff is led by Sousa Williams.
(C) Jim McNabb, 2009


iPhonatic said...

FYI, the KXAN iPhone app sucks. News is infrequently updated on it and overall it is pretty bad. It gets 3 out of 5 stars in the App Store. Reader comments include, "Weather data doesn't update", it's pretty sad how little proofreading goes into these articles", "not good for weather", "Ads too big", "not verry current", "slow and not well organized".

Anyway I wish them luck, but my expectations are low.

Anonymous said...

the kxan iphone app is farmed out. done by some company that's doing it for any station with similar results. the weather imagery alone is a good reason to avoid it.

new media is nothing new, it's just becoming more prevalent from the advent of mobile internet access. Some would say it's the iphone but mobile data, for those in the tech and REAL business world, dates back into the 80's with modems and bbs access, or if you can hang with us older crowd, in the days of the teletype. They call 'em "the wires" for a reason.

Both in acquiring data and broadcasting it, the advent of higher speed wireless access was the last "mile" before the news business jumped on board. There WILL be a day where live trucks are no more. Assuming the economy continues down for a few years, and I do, you can assume that mobile media acquisition and broadcast will become a laptop, camera, tripod in a backpack affair with no need for livetrucks or engineers piecing them back together on ever-shrinking budgets.

The new media will likely also see mergers between newspaper and broadcast media, because simply, their mediums are becoming extinct. Who watches on cable or buys a paper? Now ask yourself... who checks online or on their phone.

Those who embrace it will have a handhold on the future and will continue in journalism a little further down the road. Those who think otherwise... dust off your resume and prepare to change career fields.