Short newscasts launched for attention deficient viewers

How short can a newscast be? WWJ-TV in Detroit launched a two-and-a-half minute newscast in January, which leads into repeats of the CBS network show “Two and a Half Men.” It has been so successful that more are coming.

WWJ vice president/general manager Trey Fabacher is considering adding additional mini-newscasts on the schedule, either on WWJ, its sister CW outlet, WKBD, or both. Such “snackable” newscasts run from two-and-a-half minutes to 12 minutes and are gaining audience throughout the country as viewers become acquainted with short clips on YouTube.

Short news shows are also being shown on XETV in San Diego, WBXX and WBIR in Knoxville, TN, and WBND in South Bend, IN. KPSP in Palm Springs, FL, is broadcasting the 15-minute “Eye on the Desert,” a local lifestyle program produced out of the newsroom.

Short local news programs allow stations to save millions of dollars in production costs and to extend their news brand. Weather is the chief topic viewers want to see. And, the new programming category taps into a new group of advertisers who buy ads only on news programs.