Thursday, January 22, 2009

National Association of Broadcasters: Marcellus Alexander

National Association of Broadcasters executive vice president of television Marcellus Alexander met with students Wednesday to forecast the challenges broadcast television, and he said either rain or sunshine could be on the horizon for his organization.

“There will be more change in the next five years than in the last 25 for television,” Alexander said. Alexander, who also serves as president of the NAB’s education foundation, said the industry wide shift from analog to digital transmission is the biggest issue facing broadcast stations.

In addition, internet and mobile television viewing has an adverse affect on television stations the NAB represents, as local affiliates of networks lose audiences and revenue when television consumers opt to see programming online, Alexander said. The business model then, Alexander said, for network newscasters and content managers is hurting.

The answer for television companies, Alexander said, is still somewhat unknown. Content must be produced for more than simply the evening news, as local updates from the community can be the main draw for network affiliates.

“If you’re producing local news, distribution on all platforms is essential,” Alexander said. Additionally, broadcasters must tap into what is relevant and accessible to all of their diverse viewer groups on laptops, mobile devices and televisions.

Despite stiff competition from 24-hour news networks during the peak of election season, Alexander said he believes a future exists for broadcast television. Once the tight economic market loosens, advertising dollars and broadcast companies that can produce original content stand to remain major players in the television market.

As an organization, the NAB is responsible for representing roughly 70 percent of the full power network television stations on the political scene at Capitol Hill. In the radio industry, the representation has included taking a stance against the recording industry’s proposed performance tax on each song played by each artist. Alexander said innovation is needed in that industry from young professionals who are “living” the world’s current technology once they enter the workforce.

-Derek Casanovas and Jasmine Linabary

Want to hear more from Alexander? Check out the video below:

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