With the DTV transition soon to be history, local television stations are fighting for economic survival in a vastly changed media world. Because all stations serve local markets, most are seeking to extend beyond those markets to tap larger audiences and new income sources.
This means using the Internet. Most stations don’t have the skill, money or infrastructure for such a global network reach, so many are turning to third parties for help. A leading player is WorldNow, a New York City-based company with a suite of online products, consulting services and revenue programs that enable local media outlets to build new businesses on the Internet.
So far, WorldNow, after more than a decade in business, has nearly 500 media clients including ABC, Cox Enterprises, Raycom Media, Young Broadcasting, Barrington Broadcast Group, Drewry Broadcasting Group, CBS Radio, Dispatch, Griffin Broadcasting, Journal Broadcasting, Local TV LLC, Media General, News Press & Gazette, Quincy Newspapers, Tribune and Schurz Broadcasting. Recently, Fisher Communications, the station group that owns the ABC affiliate in Seattle and other stations in the Northwest, signed a deal with the company.
WorldNow provides client stations with a range of services, including a Web site publishing platform, broadband video services, advertising and sales programs, and a local auto classifieds site called WorldNow Cars.
Fisher, for example, wants to upgrade the Web presence for its 13 TV and radio outlets and generate more income from its online activities. Collen Brown, Fisher’s CEO, said that with “online video increasingly growing in importance and monetization potential in local media,” the company saw the need to work with WorldNow.
Raycom, a media company with 37 stations, recently renewed its multiyear contract with WorldNow. The broadcaster uses WorldNow’s publishing platform and video streaming for online news delivery, as well as its national ad sales network. Paul McTear, Raycom’s CEO, praised WorldNow, calling it the “catalyst” in his company’s leadership in web news.
WorldNow can provide turnkey services to build and maintain Web presences, or it can provide the technological backbone for its Web systems. It helps some clients with online ad sales. WorldNow is partnered with some of the leading names in Internet technology including Akamai, Omniture, Lightingcast, EyeWonder and Macromedia.
The company provides stations with its Producer software tool that enables anyone to publish text, graphics, Web 2.0 interactive elements and video online. All that’s needed by the client is a personal computer and an Internet connection. APIs allow stations to configure custom workflows and integrate third-party applications for functions such as analytics and ad insertion.
WorldNow’s video management system uses an open architecture tailored to the individual needs and strategic goals of the stations in a variety of formats including Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight.
WorldNow’s advertising solutions are IAB-compliant and provide serving for both preroll and overlay advertising; comprehensive reporting; tools for syndication; a national advertising network; revenue programs and consulting for local sales. It also provides an open platform that allows customers to integrate proprietary and legacy systems for ad serving, newsroom and reporting.
Video player widgets enable stations to create custom video players. Individual player elements can be placed anywhere on a Web page, either attached or detached from one another. Simple social tools and a flexible approach to video distribution are also provided. This enables stations to customize syndication relationships and viral distribution strategies.
WorldNow’s partnerships with TubeMogul and TiVo provide opportunities for stations to distribute content to more than 20 of the most popular social and video portals. A modular video player allows users to e-mail, embed, link, or bookmark video content — enabling viral distribution.
A video appliance that can be locally installed at the station supports all common mobile video formats, such as H.264, 3GP, MPEG format and Windows Mobile Media — both as progressive and streaming. The majority of multimedia mobile phones operating systems, including the iPhone, Blackberry and Android, are supported.
WorldNow’s advertising and sales training programs empower local television broadcasters to generate online advertising. The company said many of its current client stations are now realizing from 5 percent to 10 percent of their local revenue with WorldNow programs — the majority of it coming from new-to-TV clients made possible by the Internet and other new media platforms.