ABC News, TV News, Localish, iPhones, Smartphones, video, journalism

ABC News Goes Localish

Posted November 28th 2018

How do you know if you are old?

A good indicator is if you are watching news on TV.

You can tell by the ads.

The average TV news show advertises Viagra, Cialis, Lyrica, Eliquis and my favorite, Optivo (how much would you spend to live a few days longer?)

This is clearly not targeted for the 18-23 year old set, but rather for the 85+ viewers.

This is a real problem for television news. Their audience is dying - literally.

Most people under 30 have already cut the cord, if they ever had it. They watch their videos on their phones.  Even Lisa and I have cut the cord.  If we are doing it, then it is really all over.

In an attempt to re-invent the TV news business, ABC has launched something they are calling Localish.

“Localish is built around the idea of producing content for this mobile-first audience whose interests might be a bit different than what we produce day-to-day,” said Wendy McMahon, president of ABC Owned Stations.

“This is a new venture to create an environment where we can experiment with new kinds of storytelling and new kinds of distribution.”

This is a good idea, but its success will depend largely upon the quality of the content that Localish is offering up.  As far as I can tell, the content is going to come from the local ABC affiliates.

This, to my mind (though no one asked me) is a mistake.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat (among others) are fed entirely by User Generated Content - not 'paid professionals'. 

They seem to work pretty well.  The people who create that content live in the community and have real stories to tell - real stories, not stories from the assignment desk at KABC.  This is what we did for Verizon's FiOS1 for many years and it works.  

There's a difference.

And, of course with more than 3 billion smartphones in the world, there is no problem with the gear, the editing or even going live.  

That doesn't mean you don't need a filter and editorial control - of course you do, but Localish offers the tantelizing prospect of creating an entirely new kind of television news that uses phones not just for watching, but also for creating.  



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