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About the Host:
Host: DOUG SIMON
Guest: DOUG SIMON
DOUG: Let’s jump right into it. You’ve been seeing a significant increase in demand for satellite media tours. Why do you think that is?
DOUG: It’s for a couple of reasons. And first, I’d like to thank you so much for having me on the show. The first is that it’s become so much harder for organizations to get their spokespeople interviewed on national television especially, as well as cable networks. And that’s because they have so much of a focus on politics. Even during election week, our survey found local stations only spent 36% of time on politics. So, that’s an increasingly important opportunity for brands to get that coverage, sort of the only game left in town. Second, it’s become even more important for organizations to communicate with their publics through the media because of the intensity of the pandemic and the need to communicate, have transparency is growing in importance, and stations also are used to taking interviews. A lot of factors coming together, which is why we’re seeing such a significant increase.
DOUG: Thank you. But do you think we’re taking the show to new highs with this interview or new lows?
DOUG: Probably both.
DOUG: Why don’t we get back into my question about the importance of reaching an audience in local media markets. What can you tell us about that?
DOUG: Local TV news audiences are getting younger, and they’re getting more diverse. There was a 135% growth in viewership among 18-35-year-olds in the past year when the fastest growing segments are African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. The work from home trend is also really accelerated that. According to Nielsen, 64% of people who work from home watch local television news at least once a week. So, it’s a younger, more diverse, more educated, more interested audience.
DOUG: You’ve been doing a number of surveys among broadcast producers. What if some of your key findings been?
DOUG: We’re seeing that there is a significantly increased interest in satellite media tours. And a big reason for that is when the pandemic hit, it completely shut down the idea of spokespeople coming to the studio to do interviews. And it made it even more difficult for stations to be sending crews to interview someone else on location. So, stations, even networks, got used to the idea of interviewing experts remotely, which is what satellite media tours have been all about for all these years. There’s a tremendous openness. Also, the media wants the information, there’s important news that’s happening. And that’s why we’re seeing a significant increase in bookings averaging more than 30 bookings for each satellite media tour that we’re conducting.
DOUG: Anything that surprised you from the data?
DOUG: Well, I think what’s surprising to a lot of people is the overwhelming interest and preference for talking to brand spokespeople instead of independent experts. The 62 producers that we surveyed, 92% of them are open to interviewing brand spokespeople for a story, and that’s the highest we’ve ever seen it. They prefer by a two to one margin, if given the choice to interview someone with a brand, then someone who’s a third-party spokesperson who might be talking about them. They want authenticity, they want the real information, they need it. So that’s been a huge change that would be surprising to a lot of people.
DOUG: You’ve often spoken of being a diehard Knicks fan and New York Jets fan. Do you think that should make us question your judgment?
DOUG: Really, like that’s where you want to go during this? I thought you invited me to do a serious interview on an important…
DOUG: OK, OK, calm down, but we can get in. Let’s talk more about how satellite media tours are being produced these days.
DOUG: Sure. Well, there are still two parts to it. One is how the spokesperson gets their signal to a control room, and the second part is how you get it to TV stations. In the old days before the pandemic, most likely they would go to a studio, which was sort of a dry, sterile environment. Now they are able to connect primarily via Zoom to a control room from anywhere. It’s authentic, it can be on location, it’s efficient. From there, the control room needs to be able to transmit signals to stations. We find that 82% of them will take Zoom interviews, more than 50% take satellite. We tend to see a 50/50 split, some of their own proprietary software that you connect with. A really important point is the public relations people previously would have been at the studio with their spokesperson to be able to provide feedback. Now that’s all being done remotely through virtual green room so they can see hear the questions from the media, see the responses and then jump in to give guidance or even prep them, if there’s a specific local information point that’s important for the next interview.
DOUG: How does a client or organization know what subject will be of interest to the media?
DOUG: Some of the key tips for success include making the story relevant to local audience. It doesn’t have to be the same story in Dallas as it is in Cincinnati. Use local information if you have a chance. Make it meaningful to people in different markets and across the country. Inform rather than sell. That’s a key part. If you can provide information that’s really going to be helpful to the viewer, there’s a much better chance of being successful. Also, because it’s such a controlled form of communication, the stations typically will ask the questions we provide to them. Set them up with questions that make the stations sound intelligent, sound like they know what they’re talking about. That will create a cohesive interview that will allow you to share your message in a way that will really resonate with the audience.
DOUG: I have to admit, the conversation was far more interesting than I anticipated going in. Maybe sometime we could turn this around and you can interview me?
DOUG: I don’t think so.