Goff and Howard Public Relations / Public Affairs Logo

Monday, March 2, 2009

A “niching” question for NewsBreak

With great Web-based fanfare, the Star Tribune on Monday launched a Web cast of news, weather and sports called NewsBreak. It’s billed as “Straight from the source, it’s your news now.” Yet after watching the first edition, it appears NewsBreak may already be strategically obsolete at a time when the Star Tribune can least afford to miss the mark.

There is more information streaming at us every day, and we have more control over the sources we can connect with and value. With this in mind, media companies, like any other business, need to understand more so than ever who their audience is, what value they bring to their customers, and where they fit into the marketplace.

NewsBreak seems to be reaching out to an audience it doesn’t understand. The result is something that may be of little value to the audience in a marketplace already filled with media companies who do a better job producing video for the Web because they have been producing television for newscasts for decades.

It’s hard to see how NewsBreak fills a need in the marketplace. The Star Tribune had a niche. It covered news in our market with depth and comprehension beyond what could be found at 5, 6, and 10.

Now, what niche is the Star Tribune trying to fill? Today’s debut of NewsBreak left us wondering.