Over the past six weeks, WHO-TV (an NBC affiliate serving the Des Moines, Iowa market) has turned to the web medium for a creative way to promote its broadcast product.
Visitor's to the television's website (during business hours, Monday-Friday) are greeted by 'Newsbot 13,' a digitized rendition of WHO-TV anchor Erin Kiernan that offers visitors a look at the day's top headlines, updated periodically through the day. Read "The Animated Anchor," Alison Romano's COMPLETE REPORT , at Broadcast & Cable online.
The technology is nothing new ... Oddcast characters are showing up on even the humblest websites. But, this particular application of an Oddcast v-host IS something new.
Most of you probably know that the "non-compete clause" has become almost standard in the contracts used nationwide by television stations and their on-air talent. It's a response to the practice of stations identifying a competitor's top performers, and trying to hire them away .... nothing new there, watch Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" sometime.
But those arrangements, it's been pointed out, do not extend to the Internet. So, until Actual Erin will be allowed on the station's broadcast, Virtual Erin will get plenty of exposure on the station's website ... which, reportedly, is enjoying a measurable increase in new traffic since Newsbot 13 was unveiled.
I suspect that we can look forward to the broadcasting industry reviewing and re-writing non-compete clauses in future contracts.