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Local TV Campaigns Take on Hurricane Season

November 8th, 2017   ||    by Monta Monaco Hernon

It’s no secret the 2017 hurricane season has taken its toll. With Harvey and Irma having devastated Houston and parts of Florida, people all over the country have been pulling together their resources and coming up with donations to help relief efforts.

But while charity organizations have been seeking help across the nation, it’s broadcasters who are again demonstrating the effectiveness of local TV campaigns for fundraising once the cleanup efforts are underway.

In Broadcast We Trust

Let’s start with the numbers: In Houston, the average total-day audience for the four local broadcast affiliates during Harvey was more than 500,000 households. This represented a 140 percent increase compared to the prior week, according to comScore.

In Beaumont, Texas, the local broadcasters’ audience doubled that of relevant cable channels. Viewership there represented an 89 percent increase over the week before.

As Spots n Dots reported, a survey conducted by the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas showed 84 percent of viewers said they choose their local station for hurricane-related news because they felt they could trust what they saw on local broadcast. More than half also said they felt the local stations are looking out for the community and will provide information residents need to stay safe.

In the aftermath, the local stations (not just in the affected areas) have proved their mettle by pitching in with efforts to raise money. Collectively, they’ve brought in millions in donations by staffing phone banks, running telethons, partnering with relief agencies, and contributing funds of their own.

Take a look at some recent examples provided by Broadcasting & Cable:

  • Forty-six Tegna-owned stations raised a collective $1 million in 12 hours.
  • Raycom stations took in nearly $400,000 in less than a week.
  • WXYZ and WMYD in Detroit brought in $138,000 in two days.
  • WCPO in Cincinnati raised $100,000 in two days.
  • WCVB in Boston earned over $500,000 for the American Red Cross.

Local media outlets, like a Boston, Massachusetts CBS station and WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida have also worked to help disaster-relief efforts on their websites—in part by covering the fundraising being done by various organizations.

Incidentally, 68 percent of respondents in the TVB survey said they trusted what they read on the websites and apps of local TV stations, making these the most trusted digital platforms.

Advertising Aid

Advertisers choosing to place ads on local stations have found that some of the trust and sense of community associated with that media carries over to them. It follows that advertising for organizations seeking to help victims of the recent hurricanes would be more impactful when paired with local broadcasts people have come to rely on in times of crisis.

Knowing this can be useful for media buyers and sellers, local stations, and relief organizations. Corporations and nonprofits could form partnerships, with the former creating the spots and funding the costs for the benefit of the latter, thereby receiving goodwill from the association.

Stations could promote aid organizations to the companies purchasing airtime and suggest advertising relationships for local TV campaigns. And there’s certainly room for programmatic technology to play a role here. Analyzing data from multiple sources could help determine the most receptive audience for this kind of messaging, and when that audience is most likely to be watching. Programmatic could also help with cross-platform campaigns, combining the power and trust of local television with the additional reach of associated websites and apps.

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