CAN YOU HEAR YOUR FUTURE?

shutterstock_209648002You can almost hear it. That clicking sound. It’s getting a bit louder every day. Can you hear it? Listen carefully. If you have spent time at an airport, a mall, or waiting in line to pay at the grocery store, then you’ve probably seen it or even been part of it.

It’s the sound of people on their mobile devices seeking out news and information and sharing what they’ve just read or watched.

They’re on local TV news apps. Sure, they may be on yours, but chances are they also have the apps of all the stations in the market.

Or they’re looking at their newsfeed on Facebook. There may be a post from your station about some story they decided to share. And chances are they’re also following your competition.

Or, they’re getting ready to download the soon-to-be-released HBOGO app for those who don’t have cable. Or they will soon have the CBS App so they can watch shows on their devices without cable and on their schedule in some cases.

That ticking sound? It’s the clock. It’s counting down. It has already reached zero for newspapers. They heard the clock but didn’t know what to do until it was too late.

One minute to midnightIf you as a news or station manager can’t hear the ticking and clicking sound, you’re not listening. Here at CJ&N, we just completed a major study of information seekers ages 25-40. What they’re doing and how they’re gathering news and content should scare you.

Newsrooms and stations need to change their content, newsgathering, staffing and digital posting processes now to meet users’ needs. News managers that won’t let content be posted until after a newscast airs are old school. (Yes, this still happens every day, possibly in your shop without you even knowing it.) They’re missing out on potential viewers and dollars. They’re ignoring the 25-40 demos and what they want and what they consume.)

If your newsroom doesn’t have a digital culture (and I’m not talking about posting a couple of stories on Facebook and tweeting about a fire), that ticking might also be a bomb. We’re talking about a real strategy about managing video on devices, daypart-driven mobile content and content creation. If you don’t have a plan that deals with these issues and how to monetize these platforms, then you don’t have a strategy.

Tick, click, tick, click.

Sure, if you’re retiring or leaving the business in 3-5 years – and don’t care about the business you’re leaving behind – you can wear the ear plugs.

If not, you need to do something soon. Because the ticking will soon reach zero, ready or not, and they will be clicking on someone else’s content.

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