Six Feet Under Idea Surfaces: Meredith Sells Local TV Obituary Service to its Stations, Others

Jul 21, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Meredith is syndicating a local obituary service for television stations after successfully introducing the program at its WNEM-TV station in Flint-Saginaw Bay City, Michigan, reports Allison Romano at TVNewsCheck.com.

According to the article, "On TV, basic obits are run during local newscasts with different stations taking different approaches to the presentation. Pioneering WNEM calls its online service ObitMichigan.com. For TV, the CBS affiliate scrolls the obits on a full screen as soft music plays in two-minute blocks at the end of three weekday newscasts — at 8:55 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6:28 p.m. The scroll also appears during two late newscasts on the MNT subchannel."

The company has sold the program to 20 non-Meredith-owned stations, is talking with 15 more, and has plans to introduce the idea to 11 of its own stations, the story says, noting that some of the other station groups involved include Gray, Media General and Hoak.

The service both produces on-air obituaries and online death notices, the article adds. "Our service is more efficient and more cost effective than running obituaries in newspapers," says Meredith’s Local Media Group President Paul Karpowicz, according to the story.

While obituaries can cost as much as $500 or more in local newspapers, the Meredith death notice program starts with a $100 fee to feature the obit on a Website and on a TV station. Adding photos can bring the cost up to $300, the story says. Meredith takes a portion of the revenue for providing stations with technology and expertise, although Meredith declined to disclose the split, the article adds.

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