Three-screen strategy, cooperatives, mulitcasts point to evolving TV news

More than two-thirds of large-market TV stations producing news are employing a three-screen strategy by delivering news content on-air, online and via mobile device, according to the latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey of broadcast newsrooms.

The survey found 68.8 percent of large market stations are taking the three-screen tact; almost all rank the order of importance of the three as on-air, online and mobile.

Adoption of three-screen journalism reflects the evolving strategies and priorities newsrooms are employing as a growing number of news consumers turn to various distribution alternatives to stay informed.

"Stations are increasingly providing content on multiple platforms," said survey director Bob Papper, professor and chairman of journalism at Hofstra University, "including radio, cable, other TV stations, multiple websites, mobile and more." The survey found 32.7 percent of the TV news directors said that they run local news on another local or nearby station.

The survey also revealed many stations have re-evaluated how they allocate precious newsgathering resources, opting to share resources and expenses while maintaining their competitive stance in the market. A total of 60 percent of stations responding to the survey said they were parties to cooperative news gathering or coverage agreements with another medium.

Stations in larger markets are more likely than stations in smaller markets to enter into news cooperative agreements, the survey revealed. According to the findings, stations with 31 or more people on their news staffs are more likely to be involved in a news cooperative agreement.

Generally, the larger the staff, the more likely a station is to share information or a helicopter, or to pool video and other resources. Stations in the Northeast were a little less likely to be involved in sharing information but more likely to be involved in sharing a helicopter and pool video, the survey found.

Of the stations currently not participating in a news cooperative, the survey revealed 28.6 percent were "planning or discussing one."

The survey also found more news outlets this year are running content such as news, weather and sports on digital multicast channels, and several news directors not already involved with another digital channel expect to be in the next year.