KUTV Wins with Facebook

Posted on March 29, 2011


In the February ratings sweep, KUTV-TV beat longtime ratings leader KSL-TV finishing first in every time slot, early morning, midday, evening and late-night; a feat that hasn’t occurred since 1985.

 One factor that may have helped the station achieve such unprecedented success is the station’s more than 200,000 Facebook fans according to a recent post on the Web site lostremote.  

 Compared to the average station which has probably between 15,000 and 30,000 fans, the size of the station’s Facebook following is pretty significant.

Overall, the online following has grown due to a commitment to integrate social media into every aspect of their news effort. Everyone from anchors and reporters to behind-the-scenes people like assignment desk editors and news managers actively post fresh content.

The station has also employed some notable individual tactics such as:

  • Giving away an iPad to “fans” of the station.
  • An anchor using the platform to spearhead a campaign that helped the Utah Food Bank secure $1 million in funding.
  • Posting specially produced video content that wouldn’t make their newscasts.
  • On-air battles between talent to see who can attract the most “likes.”

Of course, there is no direct evidence that correlates the station’s ratings success to their legion of Facebook followers.

As news director Jennifer Dahl says,

“Social media can encourage people to sample a station’s newscast, however, you still have to have a quality show to maintain interest.”

Two great lessons in one: building audience loyalty online can be done and is beneficial, but it only helps if the show you are promoting is worth listening to.