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June 11, 2008

World News Webcast close to changing format

The Wall Street Journal ($$) is reporting that the World News Webcast put out by ABC is close to changing its format.

ABC's news-division president, David Westin, says the network is considering ways to reinvent the broadcast, including as a series of updates throughout the day.

It is too bad that the viewer numbers for the webcast have not been higher. According to the article, the website that the webcast runs on only received 145,000 hits last Monday. There was no indication of the number of subscribers to the podcast version of the webcast.

I have consistently watched the webcast over the last 18 months, partially because I was working longer hours and this was my only access to the news during that time, and mostly because it was the best example of what I thought news should be on the web if you wanted a summary news program, much like traditional broadcast news.

From my time in school I can tell you: Putting together a 30-second video for the web is hard, let alone, trying to produce a 15-minute broadcast. If ABC News were to try and do the former throughout the day, they would likely burn themselves out, let alone the people who watch the webcast with the constant updates.

The article also points to the "tastes" of consumers, which are just scary.

Of last Monday's 7.8 million clicks, three million were to photo slideshows, including one of celebrities at the beach and another of the "pregnant man."

The webcast always had a "fun" story at the end, much like the endcaps on traditional news which were fun and light-hearted. However, if that is going to be the majority of the news that people go to for the webcast, and the webcast will change content to meet that, I will stop watching.

This is (was?) the best news on the net each day. It is too bad it may be shortlived.

This entry is tagged: ABC, journalism, Wall Street Journal

Posted by bmiraski at June 11, 2008 12:52 PM