Study: Local News Most Effective Ad Platform

Local news not only draws big audiences, but a study maintains that it is also the most effective platform for advertisers.

The study, commissioned by Hearst-Argyle Television and presented Feb. 28 at the Association of National Advertisers conference in New York, also says viewers are more engaged with local news than other programs. Local news is more likely to be viewed live and viewers are less likely to fast-forward through ads when viewing local news on DVR, the study found.

The study found 55 percent of respondents cite TV as their primary source of news, followed by the Web (26 percent) and newspapers (14 percent).

“The greater loyalty audiences have toward local broadcast TV news is a factor in the effectiveness of advertising within the genre, and, in a key finding, respondents reported that ads on local TV news drive greater product/service awareness than those within any other program type,” the study said.

Among online local news viewers, 44 percent use DVRs and 32 percent have HDTV sets, the study found.

The study was conducted for Hearst-Argyle by Frank N. Magid Associates and reached more than 2,700 local news viewers, age 25-54. Hearst has touted its own commitment to local content including Web sites that attracted more than 1.7 billion page views from an average of nearly 15 million monthly unique visitors in 2007.

CEO David Barrett said online ad spending on TV-centric websites has yet to catch up with the traffic delivered on these sites. According to a “2008 Outlook” report from Web research firm Borrell Associates, of the $8.5 billion spent on local Web advertising in 2007—estimated to reach $12.6 billion in 2008—Internet “pure plays” such as Google received 43.7 percent and newspaper Web sites received 33.4 percent, while local broadcast TV sites received only 9.3 percent, a disparity the firm partially attributes to the greater numbers of local ad salespeople working for local newspaper sites.