Yesterday it was announced and today it’s sinking in as reality. Brandon, Manitoba’s only home grown TV station is going black. I think on an unconscious level everyone in Westman knew the company willing to gamble on buying such a profit lacking station would also be have the guts to slip out the backdoor after reassuring everyone their job’s were safe. We didn’t want to believe it.
I admit thoughts about the situation are still brewing for me just like everyone else, but some initial conclusions can be realized.
Daily news will still be found on the radio and in the newspaper- but you have to admit it’s not TV. Big losers are large local events like the Royal Manitoba Winter fair and out of town businesses invested in television advertising. As a local view myself, I would count myself as someone who looked to CKX for both. I’m the type who only buys the Saturday paper and goes to the internet for radio. This summer I enjoyed the fact that CBC TV I watched at the cabin (where we only get 3 channels including CKX) was far away the best (tired of American news reporting?) and made my wife and I consistently consider cancelling our cable subscription back home. The combination of local TV and quality CBC programs are now gone.
So cut to the chase! What does this mean for advertisers and event promoters? What does this mean for local media consumers?
In my opinion, this makes the average Brandon or Westman resident more of an information seeker than simple receiver. Locals will have to actively pursue their information. At noon and 6 o’clock Brandonites won’t be able to sit on the couch, eat their food and passively watch the news. What’s going on in Brandon? What events are coming up?
So how will Westman find its information? I won’t account for every demographic, but for local information, this is my opinion:
– newspaper and radio will rule the day
– web will rule the night
Marketing as a whole will have to be unbelievably more creative locally than ever before, and for someone that serves all businesses with web and print design that do actively market themselves, it’s very interesting. How will Brandon businesses get their message out of the Brandon bubble? Small town newspapers should be on the ball to catch the dollars of businesses trying to reach surrounding areas. (Playing devil’s advocate, this situation could be very good news for Brandon’s surrounding towns trying to keep their local dollars local). Direct mail may even become a more popular avenue, but as you find yourself farther and farther from Brandon but within the trade area, I would be willing to bet the internet is one of the most valuable – and affordable – transmitter of information. .
This is also good news for Brandon’s local business on the web. The internet isn’t quite as passive as TV, but compared with the TV today, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. There are a lot of laptops on couches each night as people cruise their favourite sites while they ignore the tube – it’s focused and on demand. Have you seen the new ads for Microsoft’s “Bing” search engine mentioning “search overload”? The way Microsoft puts it, search overload is all the peripheral pages you find when you search for the one keyword you really want. The new popular keyword could be “Brandon”, and more than ever, local businesses should have their eye on appearing on that page.
From now on Brandon website owners should focus on a better representation of themselves, more complete information, and more current information. Websites, as always, should strive to take advantage of the web and all its technologies – why not still have your own video commercial?
Good luck CKX employees! Good luck as well to everyone who relied on a good local television station for their news, events and advertising. This is an unfolding story with much to think about, and I doubt this will be my last post regarding it!
Scott Kasprick is a graphic designer in Brandon, Manitoba and owns and operates Reaxion Graphics while helping his wife raise three lively daughters!