Local TV Stations Make Money Through News-​Aired Ads

BY Rachel Cagle
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Some of your clients may be wondering how local TV stations make money. Much of TV stations' revenue is driven by well-​placed advertisements that continue to benefit both the advertiser and the station alike. But when and during what types of programming should one place these ads? Well, what is local TV best known for? Airing the news.

Not all consumers watch the local news on TV at the same rate. Younger Americans, for example, pay very little attention to local news, and when they do, they’ll likely access it digitally. However, there are a few demographic groups who never miss the daily local news shows. If your clients are targeting these consumers, they should be buying ads on local TV news programming, which also helps local TV stations make money.

Demographics that Help Local TV Station Make Money Using Ads

According to a study by Pew Research Center, older Americans, black adults and consumers who have, at most, a high school degree level of education are local TV news’ most avid viewers. 

Older Americans

Pew found that 42% of consumers over the age of 65 and 38% of those ages 50 to 64 follow local news very closely. Additionally, 51% of both age groups prefer to get their local news from watching television. This could be the result of life-​long habits.

Black American Adults

46% of black adults follow their local news very closely, with 59% doing so via their TVs. Black American adults value the local news because they feel that 73% of the top 11 topics covered by the news are important to their lives. The top three topics that are important to this demographic include weather, crime and prices. The topics that are more important to black American adults than white or Hispanic Americans include jobs and unemployment, community activities, sports and restaurants, clubs and bars.

Americans with High School Diplomas or Less

Americans who have a high school education or less also value local TV news, with 36% following this media very closely and 52% preferring to catch up on the latest news via TV. Even though this demographic values the local news, they don’t often feel well represented. Only 48% say the local news media mostly covers the areas they live in and 43% don’t feel like local journalists are in touch with the community.

Even though Americans with a high school education or less don’t feel represented well by the news they value, they can feel represented in the TV commercials they see while watching their local news reports. Additionally, local community event organizers, sports teams and restaurants can make the most of TV commercials on their local news to appeal to these viewers. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel, 61.8% of Local Evening News Watchers and 64.9% of Local Late Night News Watchers took action after seeing TV commercials. More information on these viewers’ spending habits, lifestyles and effective marketing tactics can be found on their individual audience profiles.