Bergman: TV stations need to get serious about the web

Cory Bergman issues a wake up call for local TV stations.

This will be the year that the portals, major national news sites and other pure plays aggressively expand into local content. It’s already underway. Yahoo News, the top news site on the web, has launched local news pages along with You Witness Video, a citizen video service. IAC just premiered AskCity, a local search, mapping and events portal for each of the major markets that’s integrated with CitySearch and Ticketmaster. Google has rolled out a free service that allows local companies to host their own business web pages with the ability to offer free, printable coupons and click-to-call functionality.

Interestingly, he doesn’t mention newspapers, where video production is on the cusp of exploding, and more and more IYP efforts are underway. In every market I’ve ever looked at, the far outpaces all of the competing TV news sites combined. It’s been most helpful to have TV station managers sleeping at their desks. Bergman screeching in their ears about the grave danger they are facing isn’t helpful.

I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that TV can be disrupted because they don’t understand web video. Bergman, who’s focus and expertise is television, says much the same thing.

The key issue centers on what local broadcasters define as “core� in their markets. Despite the fact that many local TV stations now call themselves local media companies, they still see everything through a TV prism. They haven’t branched out online beyond repurposed TV news, self-promotion and TV-centric sales. And they still consider their competition to be local TV and newspaper sites.

I think TV stations are about two years behind newspapers (that’s board, general statement) in “getting it,” and newspapers are about two years behind the rest of the web. that doesn’t mean they can’t make up lost ground quickly, especially in specific, motivated markets.

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