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Is Live TV Where You Should Be?

(Hint – there’s only one correct answer and it’s got more than 2 letters)Gannett's Friday Night Lights high school football webcasts, via a Mogulus grid

(Cross-posted from Shift Lock, my column in The Publisher)

This past fall thousands of football fans in a dozen U.S. cities sat down to take part in new twist on a familiar ritual — Friday Night Lights, the much-hyped high school gridiron battles popularized by the 2004 movie and the more recent TV series of the same name. What’s that got to do with newspapers? A lot. These fans weren’t watching fictional football, they were watching the the real thing, with real kids — their kids — playing their hearts out down at the local high school field. Moreover, these fans weren’t watching the games on local TV, they were watching it on their computers via a live video stream over the internet; those games were being “webcast” by their local newspaper. (And, you’ll be happy to know those newspapers were making money on at least some of those webcasts right out of the box.) Welcome to your newspaper’s future – live TV coverage of local news and events. “Whoa!” I can hear some of you saying. “Not so fast. We can’t afford to compete head to head with local television. We don’t have the skills, the equipment, the staff, the time, etc. etc. etc.” Wrong.

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