Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Graphics Envy

We didn't catch Channel 7's 5 p.m. newscast, but two alert readers tipped us off to the station's new graphics package, a new sans-serif font in an obtrusive white and red stripe that consumes nearly a quarter of the screen. (We were able to see it on the 6 p.m. cast.) The new look is incorporated into the entire program, and isn't, at first blush, all that impressive. The unveiling comes on the heels of Channel 6's recently adopted weather graphics, which themselves look suspiciously like the ones Channel 3 has been using for a year or two.

Speaking of Channel 3, one of the same tipsters also notes that 7 has also dropped sports coverage from its 5 p.m. news, following KMTV's lead by two years. Since 2003, KM3 has eschewed the traditional sportscast, picking up sports stories only as needed. While the move seemed puzzling at first, it has allowed the station to increase its news coverage, rather than showing the endless stream of high school sports highlights that dominate the other stations' airtime.

And the trend is spreading. A San Diego station recently dropped its regular sportscast, citing the same desire to forego sports coverage (sports is something about 25% of viwers want) in favor of expanded news coverage. While that plan has yet to translate into big numbers increases for KM3, the fact that top-rated KETV is now emulating the tactic suggests that the "Clear, Accurate, To the Point" folks are onto something.

CORRECTION: We have subsequently been advised by several readers that Channel 7 dropped sports from its 5 p.m. newscast in 2002, before Channel 3 adopted its current approach. We apologize for our ignorance. —TB


RICK said...

I don't live in Omaha anymore and thus don't really know the extent of what 3 covers in terms of sports, but it seems to me there is something inherently "local" in sports coverage. This is especially true in the current local news climate where KETV 7 looks EXACTLY like WABC 7 (in New York). Local sports can connect a station to the community in a way most news stories can't-- never have I seen a report on an area shooting that struck me as anything but incidental.
It isn't riveting television, but it has its place.
Maybe one less Schiavo update for a Mavs score? Just a thought.

RogerJohnson said...

I am not 100% sure on this, but I believe Channel 7 dropped their 5pm sports a long time before Channel 3 went to their current format. To say that, "KETV is now emulating" Channel 3rd is just plain stupid. I personally think the 5pm newscast can go without sports. Most sporting events happen in the evening. So what is the point of repeating the same sports at 5 and 6? Although, I would rather see sports instead of that awful "Online @ 5" segment that Channel 7 does.

Ted Brockman said...

We stand corrected on the timing of 7's dropping sports. It just seems as if 6 & 7 are picking up elements of 3's approach and scoring better ratings, while 3 keeps churning out a better product (with the exception of "For What It's Worth") and getting nothing for it. Maybe Travis Justice is driving away so many viewers that no matter how good the rest of the cast is, the numbers aren't going to improve.

Ted Brockman said...

P.S. We agree that the "Online @ 5" segment is dreadful, a subject that we're planning to address soon.

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