KETV Sees Interent Ad Dollars Pour In

Jul 31, 2006  •  Post A Comment

As the Internet becomes a more critical business for local television stations, Hearst-Argyle-owned KETV in Omaha, Neb., can look toward the growth it has corralled online this year as a springboard for the future.

The ABC affiliate generated about 6 million page views in June, a 29 percent increase over January. What’s more, the station projects that Web ad dollars will rise 12 percent this year over last year.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to generate incremental revenue,” said Joel Vilmenay, president and general manager for the TV station, whose Web site, KETV.com, is managed and produced with Internet Broadcasting.

He attributes that growth to the investment the station is making in its Web operations. In late July, for instance, KETV added a live feed of its 24-hour digital weather channel to the Web site.

Weather traditionally is not only one of the most popular portions of an on-air newscast, but also one of the most highly trafficked sections on local stations’ Web sites. The station planned to begin promoting the online option for the weather channel on-air in late July, which should in turn drive traffic to the site.

Another recent addition is the station’s first daily webcast, a three-minute online news program introduced in April. Though it’s generating only a few hundred views per day, the audience has grown about 20 percent in the past three months. Mr. Vilmenay said KETV plans to pursue sponsorships for the webcast as the audience grows. KETV will also promote the webcast more heavily on-air going forward.

The station also began offering video podcasts in October featuring recaps of the most interesting and popular news of the day.

KETV revamped the look of its Web site last fall to make it more video-centric. The site now includes a video player in the middle of the page with pre-roll ads in front of the clips as well as improved navigation, said Shiloh Woolman, managing editor of KETV.com.

“We have taken steps to train producers and video editors and online talent to post stories. This is a real push for us,” she said.

In addition to local stories, she has found that viewers are interested in the entertainment section and news from Hollywood, which is powered by Internet Broadcasting. The site is also visited regularly by former Nebraskans now living elsewhere who want to stay in touch with hometown news.

Integration on-air is critical to driving Web growth, Ms. Woolman said. To that end, she makes regular appearances on the 5 p.m. news to highlight Web coverage.