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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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Can't even give 'em away?
Can't even give 'em away?

Channel 4's iPad promo flop

If you remember, Channel 4 tried to buy viewership by offering iPads every night of the ratings season to people who watched their news.

The announcement of the winner was made each night at 10 p.m., a ratings spot that Channel 4 had won for years.

As it turns out, the iPad deal turned out to be a real turn-off. Channel 12, for the first time in memory, beat Channel 4 news at 10 p.m.

I'm sure the wonderful folks at Channel 4 are saying that they lost because of a weak network lead-in and that Channel 12 benefited from strong network programming.

There is some truth to that claim, of course. But there may also be enough people who were offended by the attempt to buy ratings that they tuned out.

From the start, the Oprah-like giveaway smacked of a desperate plea for viewers. A news operation ought to get viewers by doing better news than the next guy.

There has been a growing stark division between Channel 12 and Channel 4. Channel 4 has become much more sensational with lots of stories that are news in only the most tangential way. Channel 12 has stuck with doing hard news that brings viewers some perspective. The ABC affiliate does as good as job as possible for a television news operation.

As a cynic, I could suggest that Channel 4 is working on another, bigger giveaway for the next ratings period. A pair of Brewers season tickets?

Talkbacks

speakthetruth | Dec. 3, 2011 at 8:29 a.m. (report)

TMJ4 has the best on air talent, without question.

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KCD | Nov. 30, 2011 at 3:47 p.m. (report)

Other than when Albert the Alley Cat did the weather on Channel 6 Ive been watching Channel 4 news. That was until people like Charlie Sykes started to get air time. This shift was just too much to tolerate. It was much more than his twisted political views; it was also his lowbrow method of "reporting". Its going to take much more than an IPad to regain the lost creditability.

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VertzMarketing | Nov. 30, 2011 at 3:26 p.m. (report)

36183 The article has a basic misunderstanding of the purpose of social media contests & campaigns. The purpose of this contest was to attract thousands of additional 'likes' on the tmj4 Facebook page which they were extremely successful in doing. Social Media campaigns are part of a long term strategy to build a huge fan base following. TMJ 4 has about twice as many followers than WISN. TMJ 4 is now able to market their company to tens of thousands of additional people than WISN is able to. In the long term this will convert these 'likes' into loyal viewers which is what every news station wants. This article misses the strategy.

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nomorecrackpipes | Nov. 30, 2011 at 3:23 p.m. (report)

Maybe it was an investment to get Facebook "Likes" to bombard people with stories in their newsfeed, hoping for increased ratings down the line? You didn't have to watch the news to find out if you won, and their "Likes" increased > 20,000 (from about 36,000 to 58,000).

WISN has 31K "Likes," Fox 6 has 81K, CBS 58 2K.

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