At the Counter…a local television success story

December 20, 2005

When all is said and done, television is about local content. While we associate Lost with ABC, Survivor with CBS and the Today Show with NBC, it is the local content that keeps us coming back for more. As viewers, we may not know that, but that is how it works. We develop a somewhat passive, somewhat indescribable, relationship with a local TV station in our market. We typically have a news team which, for whatever reason, we like better than the others. So we watch that channel before Leno or Letterman or after CSI or football, etc. It is our station…

Last spring Ms Titan decided to start a production company called Dot2. If you’re a broadcaster reading this then you know the name is derived from the very first sub-channel after your primary digital channel. If you’re a consumer, the name probably won’t make sense. Either way, the notion of Dot2 is great. Dot2’s sole purpose in life is to assist TV stations with creating great local content. Each station has 19.4 Mb/s of capacity to broadcast in digital. Each station has (or will have) the ability to multicast, datacast, backcast and stream content. Viewers will continue to consume the vast majority of their content from local broadcasters. What Dot2 is doing to assist stations with reaching viewers with great content available from all sources, primarily off air and broadband, is great. Stations must increase both the content they create AND ways to get that content, i.e. queuing up content on their websites.

Why am I so impressed with Dot2 and At the Counter (ATC)? Simple. ATC is the best of what broadcasting was and the best of what it can become. So you can see a sampling of their content Dr. Titan has set up a continual loop, click here:

mms://stream.awbrdemo.decisionmark.com:8000/stream2

Remember how Soap Operas became Soap Operas? The word “Soap” came from the first sponsors of the shows which were the manufacturers of household cleaning products. Smart. If you watch the above loop you’ll see that each 4 minute show has a sponsor, or sponsors, which typically match the topic of the show. The local content is helpful and informative and something most viewers can benefit from watching. Good content. Smart. Non-intrusive ads. Double smart. Local content. Triple smart. Content which can be embedded into a newscast and then quickly ported to the web. Quadruple smart. My hat is off to Dot2.

What Dot2 is doing with ATC and subsequent productions is creating great local content that offers advertisers cost-effective ways to test TV. Good idea. ATC offers viewers a chance to see fun content without investing a lot of time. Another good idea. And finally, shows like ATC give broadcasters a chance to connect with viewers in real-time while on-air and after-the-fact by getting it over-the-web, or basically on-demand. Believe it or not, on-demand is where all broadcasting (yes, even local) is going. In the not too distant future, you’ll get content from your local broadcasters which may never have aired. Why not, you trust them to give you news, weather and sports, right? Why not go to your favorite local broadcasters for other content? It doesn’t have to be the traditional sit down on Sunday night and watch ABC at 8:00 PM. The game is about to change. Our company is going to help change it.