Local TV news operations are in the presentation business.
When it comes to the news viewing experience, your station’s news set is prominent in a significant portion of your newscasts. I haven’t done the math, but in 22 minutes of news, viewers see your anchor talent on set about half the time maybe?
Viewers expect an appealing presentation from the studio — well-lit talent, monitors, interesting camera angles and a weather location.
Often, stations are on their own when buying new sets. They have to find the money in their budgets to pay for them, as opposed to their corporate owners funding the costly improvements. And that’s not always a practical solution.
So if your station gets a new set, regardless of who pays for it, should it figure into your marketing? If so, how?
WOFL, the Fox O&O in Orlando, Fla., recently unveiled a new set designed by FX Group.
The station wanted a new set that would give viewers, especially younger viewers, more information, more perspective and better story-telling.
“It’s definitely a marketing tool in how we re-imagine our story telling,” says Chris Friedrichs, WOFL’s creative services director.
“Millennials play a big part in our strategy. We feel like this set really speaks to that demographic.”
“Some clients say they want an innovative or out-of-the-box set design,” said Mack McLaughlin, FX Design Group’s CEO. “WOFL actually meant it and we were all able to reimagine the set of the future together.”
FX Design started from the ground floor up, literally.
The designer created a blue epoxy floor that reflects the illuminated set.
“The design team at FX really understood our vision,” says Friedrichs. “This set is really about technology, video, social media, interaction with viewers and users, bringing parts of our newsroom, producers, assignment editors, onto the set itself.”
The set features massive curved walls with color changing ribbons. There is a 5×7 46-inch monitor array, which is the largest that FX Design Group has ever included in a set.
“Now all of the meteorologists can work in one location and never leave the area during a breaking weather story,” says Friedrichs.
There are four, 40-inch touch screens for the assignment desks, which lend a sense of urgency to the fast-paced WOFL newscasts.
“Fox is perceived as a younger, hipper, cooler, network,” says Friedrichs, “so this goes hand in hand with the image we want to put out there.”
There’s an L-shaped, walk-on social media desk including the Twitter Desk where the talent can interact with social media.
“The goal is to keep the audience entertained and engaged,” says Friedrichs. “So we wanted to develop a stage that was innovative and different than anything seen in Orlando currently. This helps set us apart.”