Interactivity to play important role for the future of TV news, study says

October 18, 2006

The mix of newsroom technology during the next few years will need to support the delivery of interactive, highly customizable newscasts if television is to deliver what viewers expect in the future, says the author of a new study commissioned by the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF).

The research, “The Future of News, A Study by The Radio Television News Directors Foundation,” by Ball State University professor of telecommunications Bob Papper, found strong interest among viewers — particularly younger viewers — in new ways of interacting with TV news.

The study suggests that there is a lot of loyalty to traditional media, and this gives broadcasters more time to improve their technologies, Papper said. But, small-screen media is not going to satiate consumers' appetites for long.

According to Papper, 40 percent of respondents like the idea of assembling their own newscasts, not just on the Internet, but on television as well.

For networks, groups and stations just now beginning to make their transition to HD newscasts and looking to maximize their market presence on the Web and cell phones, building the news infrastructure to support delivery of news that lets viewers pick and choose which stories to watch and how much detail to get when they want may seem like a far-off fantasy, but it’s not.

With IPTV technology, providing this level of interactivity on television is possible, but it’s difficult and time-consuming, and broadcasters have to come to terms with that and figure out a way to deal with it, Papper said.

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