Survey Shows TV's Preference

Aug 01, 2002

A majority of US television stations are using the same number of, or more, video news releases (VNR) and satellite media tours (SMT) to supplement health stories than they were one year ago, according to a recent survey conducted by DS Simon Productions, a media communications company. That is important news for pharma companies and their public relations partners, who are using those vehicles more than ever to communicate scientific research findings to consumer audiences.

The study of 75 TV stations in the top 100 local markets revealed that the use of health-focused feeds increased because, for the fourth year in a row, broadcasters want to cover medical stories more than any other news.

"VNRs and SMTs fill a need," says Doug Simon, president and CEO of DS Simon Productions. "The demand for health news is up, but stations have fewer resources because of financial cutbacks."

Although only half of the health producers and report-er respondents use SMTs, 88 percent say they use VNRs. Of those, 42 percent rate evening newscasts as the most likely time to air healthcare VNRs. Twenty-five percent said the next most likely time is during the noon newscast. Nights, mornings, and weekends each had 11 percent to tie for third as the most likely time for VNR placement.

Many stations' formats don't allow for SMTs, which accounts for the usage discrepancies between that medium and VNRs, says Simon. Thirty-five percent of those who do use the format said stations are most likely to run SMTs live during morning programs, while another 35 percent said stations are most likely to pull material off the satellite and edit it for other news programs. The remaining 30 percent noted that they use SMTs for live midday programs.