Online financial success for broadcasters lies in creating true cross-platform integration with the television side of their business, according to editors who took part in Friday's panel Broadcast Strategies for the Web.
According to Steve Safran, senior vice president of AR&D's Media 2.0 division, "the reason we're not getting the share we deserve [from advertising] is the approach we're taking is newspaper and broadcast-centric; once you get past ways to monetize your website it takes right off."
Patrick Stiegman, vice president and executive editor for ESPN.com, agreed and discussed ways ESPN.com has developed cross-platform storytelling by streaming video and creating interactive games for their users. "Two years ago I think there was some skepticism you could monetize this and maximize audience," said Stiegman. "People are willing to pay for content if it is valuable to them."
Mitch Gelman, vice president and executive director of CNN.com, explained that CNN.com wanted their site to emphasize their strength in delivering breaking news and producing original content. Gelman expanded on the I-Reporter feature which allows CNN.com to receive a large volume of breaking news without actively soliciting.
Focusing on how to increase cross-platform reach to a local audience, Safran discussed strategy for broadcasters to "create a revolution in advertising" by investing in and building their Web site. "It's about taking the information you have and knowing how to feature it," said Safran. Instead of using third-party and costly software, broadcasters should create a local network of sites, organize the local web and take advantage of what's already available.
This means moving away from thinking that the Web site is a brochure reinforcing the brand, but rather something sold as its own entity. "The superstition that everything has to reinforce the brand is just that, a superstition," said Safran.
-- Emily Hanlon