TRAC Media Service's primer on "Everything You Should Know About Your Members" was first up today (Jan. 11) in its pre-NETA development workshop in Nashville. Kristen Keubler, director of station research for TRAC, fleshed out its continually updated 2001-03 survey of lapsed pubTV members and talked about the good news (many are longtime, enthusiastic viewers and have "formed a quasi-human relationship" with their station) and bad news (there are "practically no new adult viewers. Everybody has sooner or later sampled the station's programming and decided to view or not to view").
Fear not: There are strategies that work to better connect with local viewers, and bring them along as members. Encourage e-mail and website interaction. Develop on-air viewer and member education campaigns to help them better understand when, how and why to pledge. A biggie: One out of five members has called the station for some reason. Make sure viewer services staffers know how to properly interact. "Don't tell them you took a program off the air 'because no one watching it,'" Kuebler said. "Say, 'Yes, we had number members watching. I loved it too, but we just didn't get enough response.'" That can lead to more conversation.
And don't believe that viewers who lost their jobs will never return. Kuebler recalled interviewing a member in Georgia who lost hers – but went on to marry a wealthy man. "Her annual pledge went from $50 a year to either $2,500 or $5,000, she couldn't remember which," Kuebler said.