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Local Market Spotlight: Greenville, Spartanburg, S.C./Asheville, N.C.

Mar 5, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Stations in the Greenville and Spartanburg, S.C./Asheville, N.C. market are turning to nontraditional advertisers to help make up for a soft national sales climate.
“We sponsored a lifestyles exposition at the Palmetto Expo center in Greenville, and we had about 46 sponsors that participated,” said David McAtee, general manager at NBC affiliate WYFF-TV, Greenville, S.C. “From a financial standpoint it was very successful.”
Mr. McAtee said the market is pacing between 5 percent and 10 percent behind where it was a year ago.
According to the BIA Financial Network, Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville TV revenues were about $111.1 million in 2000 and are expected to be about $114.5 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are auto, retail, fast food, packaged goods, telecommunications and furniture.
“Domestic auto is down,” Mr. McAtee said. “On a brighter note, the foreign auto business is up.”
Jim Conschafter, general manager at CBS affiliate WSPA-TV, Spartanburg, said local auto sales are up because local auto dealers are advertising. Many other categories are growing, he said, including educational institutions, entertainment, grocery, hardware/home improvement, specialty stores and utilities.
“The main issue right now is focusing on developing nontraditional dollars, going after industries that just don’t generally advertise on television,” Mr. Conschafter said. “We put together an Alzheimer’s awareness program, we did public service announcements, and we had them sponsored by businesses that just don’t usually advertise on television.”
Mr. McAtee said the market is in three states, with 65 percent of its households in South Carolina, 30 percent in North Carolina and 5 percent in northeast Georgia. The market includes 28 counties.
Charter Media General Manager Steve Curtis said cable penetration in the market is 72 percent, which translates to 410,000 homes. Cable is pacing about 20 percent ahead of where it was a year ago, he said.
“We have two new grocery clients that have come to us because of the waste associated with a broadcast buy,” Mr. Curtis said. “Some only want to buy the North Carolina part instead of the whole market.
“We’re getting a pretty good bit of new business month in and month out. The broadcasters in our market have gotten real competitive and really reduced their rates dramatically. One of the broadcasters had so much inventory that was going unsold, they actually auctioned off the inventory to try to boost sales,” said Mr. Curtis, referring to ABC affiliate WLOS-TV, in Asheville, N.C. “I heard that did not go over very well.”
Charter Media offers 14 zones in the market, and advertisers can put commercial inserts on 35 cable networks, up from 20 a year ago.