Local Market Spotlight: Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Apr 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Although national sales in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area are soft, station managers predict the market will turn around by the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter.
“We believe that the fourth quarter is going to be fine,” WRAL-TV General Manager Bill Peterson said. “In talking to all the advertisers, everyone gets the sense that what we’re in is temporary. If you look at the pacing in the next few months, the signs are OK. It’s more uncertainty than there is any real hard data.”
According to BIA Financial Network, Raleigh-Durham TV revenues were $176.6 million in 2000 and are expected to be $181.9 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are auto, restaurants, telecommunications and furniture.
“Automotive, when it comes to the local dealers, has been healthy,” Mr. Peterson said. “A lot of the individual dealers are very active and in fact appear to be increasing their advertising.”
Mr. Peterson said the market is flat compared with last year. Mike Ward, general manager at NBC-owned WNCN-TV, said he thinks the market may be flat to down. Both say part of the reason for the weakness is last year’s spending for political ads.
The market area has a stable economy and is growing. It is an area designed for high-tech companies that would attract graduates from nearby Duke University, North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina. The area also includes Research Triangle Park.
Mr. Ward said pharmaceutical companies are also located in the Research Triangle, such as GlaxoSmithKline, which he says is the largest employer in the Triangle. He said Motorola has a plant there, and IBM produces laptops in the area.
“This is a wonderful growth market. The forecast is nothing but more growth here,” Mr. Ward said. “The sorts of jobs that are available here attract young, highly educated workers. This is a very young market-the median age in this market is well below 35.”
WRAL already has two salespeople dedicated to selling for its Web site and is looking to hire a third. WNCN has a popular feature on its Web site called GolfteeNC.com, where local golf courses partner with the station and link their Web sites to the station’s site. On the site, the golf courses offer coupons and layouts of and directions to golf courses.
“That’s one effort out there that has attracted a nice revenue stream and a lot of users,” Mr. Ward said.