Boston area news outlets are beginning to offer their local programs on mobile devices, such as Apple Computer's popular iPod, in a bid to hang on to an increasingly distracted audience, reports the Boston Globe.
Boston TV executives say they hope viewers will view the news where there are no televisions — at work, on the T (subway), in Starbucks — and then check the tube for updates once they are home. They also hope that, like viewers, advertisers will follow the content.
All are seeking new revenue streams at a time when local TV news viewership continues steadily on a decade-long decline.
“Do I expect to make a ton of extra advertising money the day we launch it? No. But I do expect that this is absolutely going to be a vital part of any station's future,” Steve Safran, director of digital media at New England Cable News (NECN), told the Globe.
His news operation just unveiled NECN Anywhere, an initiative to reach viewers with video-on-demand, podcast, and eventually cell phone versions of some of its news and talk shows. NECN is also upgrading its Web site so that users of Apple computers can access the video available there.
CBS4 Mobile, a subscription service designed to give Sprint and Verizon Wireless customers access to news, traffic and weather videos from the station, is days away from launch, said vice president and station manager Angie Kucharski. The service will cost about $3 per month and be billed directly to subscribers by their cell phone companies.
In June, Fox network affiliate WFXT-TV plans to relaunch its Web site with a focus on exclusive video not seen on its regular newscasts, spokeswoman Maggie Hennessey Nees told the Globe. WHDH-TV, the local NBC station, already offers text updates of weather and school closings via mobile phone and plans to add exclusive news video to its website in the near future, said spokeswoman Ginny Lund.
Boston's PBS station WGBH-TV started offering podcasts of some of its programs last year and also has a video-on-demand channel on the local Comcast cable system. ABC-affiliate WCVB-TV launched last year on its site three-minute Web-only newscasts, called ClickCasts, three times a day.