Buratti spoke about the breathtaking speed at which media are transforming, driven largely by the digital revolution, namely the growth of mobile technology. Even websites are an example of legacy media now, she said.
With this change comes new ways of measuring market share. The Nielsen Ratings, for decades the industry standard for determining who is watching what and at what time, are quickly becoming passé, supplanted by services better suited to the multiple ways users access television. An example of one of those services is Rentrak, a global company with headquarters in Portland.
Portland is a unique and challenging market in which to compete, Buratti pointed out, because while it has the 23rd largest television audience by population, its total available advertising revenues are equal to only those of the 36th largest TV audience. This is due to a number of factors, such as a faltering local economy and a less-consumerist culture than some other comparably-sized cities.
As part of her work to make KGW more competitive in the hunt for those scarce advertising dollars, Buratti and her team conducted extensive market research and identified several objectives for the company, including achieving brand consistency (logos, etc.) across various media platforms (including social media), as well as changing the brand’s tone to more closely reflect the values of KGW’s audience. Buratti and her colleagues are reaching out to students and other young people to learn how they can use social media more effectively.
Buratti then turned to a discussion of the roles and responsibilities of local news stations in society. She said the staff at KGW takes its duty to inform the public very seriously, citing the station’s coverage of the recent tornado in Longview, WA as an example of a service it provides that entities such as Comcast or Google or even network television cannot. The relationship between a community and its local news station is one built on trust, she said.