Some station managers say the Burlington-Plattsburgh market overall is pacing flat to down compared with a year ago because of national sales. But national is doing well at some stations.
“National is actually up a little for us,” said Larry Delia, general manager at ABC affiliate WVNY-TV. “We are a newer station; we rebuilt ourselves over the past three years. We rebuilt our news department, gutted out the technical facility, bought better programming. We weren’t a very powerful ABC affiliate, and we’re slowly trying to turn it around.”
According to BIA Financial Network, Burlington TV revenues were about $33 million in 2000 and are expected to be $33.3 million in 2001.
Top ad categories in the market are auto, fast food and lottery.
Peter Martin, general manager of CBS affiliate WCAX-TV, said the market’s breakdown is about 60 percent national and 40 percent local ads and that the market is ahead in March.
“From what I’m hearing-that the market is down double digits, and that’s not the first time it’s happened-it has the feel of 1991 to it,” Mr. Martin said.
Mr. Delia said IBM is one of the top three employers in the market because of its plant there. “It’s generally a stable market. Unemployment is generally low,” he said. “Housing is very difficult to find. There is a housing shortage in most of Vermont [because] a lot of businesses are coming here.”
In an effort to create another revenue stream, WVNY is constructing a Web site, which will launch in a month.
General Manager Bill Sally of Fox affiliate WFFF-TV said Home Depot went to the network level, taking away dollars from the market, but a Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse is being built. “Our hope is that’ll be replaced by Lowe’s.”
The WFFF sales staff is focusing on more direct businesses.
“In spite of everything, we’re having a very good first quarter, a better job doing local business,” Mr. Sally said. “We’re very proactive. I think the concern right now is for the next three months, and the optimism really falls to the second half of the year. We think that there will be a rally.”
Mr. Sally said retail is growing on the New York side of the market with Best Buy moving into the area.
According to BIA Financial Network, the market has 300,650 television homes, and 82 percent of them have cable.
Bob Snowdon, area manager for Adelphia, which is in Burlington and most of Vermont, said, “Cable is fairing very well. Cable is up double digits compared to a year ago.”