RTDNA: Nearly Half of Local TV Stations Making Push Toward Digital

Other areas of innovation include increased use of drone and new equipment.
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WASHINGTON—Local TV stations across the country are making sure they aren’t getting left behind in the digital revolution, putting digital at the front of new innovations they are implementing. This comes from the 25th edition of the annual RTDNA/Hofstra University Newsroom Survey.

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The 2019 survey asked for just the second time what’s the most innovative thing a newsroom started doing in the last year. Out of the more than 200 responses that answered the question, digital was the top choice. Nearly half, 45.3%, of respondents said they did something that involved digital, with streaming and OTT being the most popular upgrade. Some responses were also given for digital platforms, digital first and digital specific programming. Alexa and AR technology were also mentioned.

Management was the next popular response at 35.8%, though it covered a wide range of answers. Drones was one of the most popular answers from this group, with many stations saying they increased their drone program or added new licensed drone pilots to their staff. Staffing and technical issues rounded out the top three answers under management. Some other answers addressed the addition of new equipment to the station’s toolbox.

Content rounded out the remainder of the responses (18.9%), but there was still a heavier focus on digital content rather than innovation for on-air content.

The survey also asked how these new innovations were working for stations, which touched on the in progress status of stations going digital first; mixed, but positive, results for OTT and streaming; but ultimately that stations were getting out of digital what was put into it.

To read the full RTDNA survey, including how local TV stations improved journalism at their station in the last year, click here.