NBC Local, Fox TV Stations Pool Resources

It’s not unusual for TV stations and other news operations to share pooled news coverage for special events, but Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media are looking to make pooling a regular strategy in local news operations. Beginning with Philadelphia in January, the two TV groups will form a local news service to gather and distribute general market video coverage to participating media outlets, including TV stations, print, radio and digital media.

The news service, announced Thursday (Nov. 13) formalizes a successful trial that WTXF, Fox’s owned-and-operated station in the market and WCAU, NBC’s owned-and-operated station, have been conducting within their news organizations since summer.  

Plans are to roll out the local news service in other markets where both own stations, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

It’s probably no coincidence that Fox and NBC’s timing comes at a time when TV stations and other traditional media need all the help they can get. TV stations and other media, faced with a deteriorating ad market and economy, are under immense financial pressure to cut costs and tightly manage resources. TV stations have been particularly hard-hit by the failing automotive industry. Earlier this week, the Television Bureau of Advertising revised downward its 2009 forecast to a drop of 7 percent to 11 percent.

Both Fox and NBC stressed that their stations will continue to operate independently. “By allowing us to save on duplicate expenditures we can be even more competitive with NBC and other stations through signature pieces and investigative reporting,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations.

This is the second major collaboration between the two mega media companies, which last fall launched the video Web site venture Hulu to showcase prime time and other programming from the two TV networks.