Local Market Spotlight: Terre Haute, Ind.

Jun 11, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Station managers say the Terre Haute market is pacing between 4 percent and 10 percent behind where it was last year, with the market flat for the first quarter.
According to BIA Financial Network, Terre Haute TV revenues were $18.8 million in 2000 and are expected to be $16.2 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are auto, electronics, fast food, beverages and restaurants.
“Local is doing better than national-we’re seeing a much stronger local economy, although we’re a very diversified economy,” said Dave Bailey, general manager at CBS affiliate WTHI-TV.
Mr. Bailey said the market includes three colleges and is also a regional health center with its two major hospitals.
“We’re a regional plastics manufacturing center, with three plastics manufacturers,” Mr. Bailey said. “And Sony Records Digital Audio Disk Corporation-they manufacture audio discs, tapes, books-it’s the distribution center for Sony DADC.”
Mr. Bailey said the market serves 16 counties-nine in Indiana and seven in Illinois. He said most of the communities in the market are rural, so Terre Haute is a regional shopping and services center.
Frank Forgey, general manager of NBC affiliate WTWO-TV, said truck dealers are a big category this year. He hopes by third quarter things will pick up.
“We’re pushing local, local, local, because we believe that’s the arena we have the most control over,” Mr. Forgey said. “We’re just trying to push special projects and promotions on the local level.”
Mr. Forgey said WTWO is the flagship station of Indiana University, the largest employer in the city. WTWO has the television rights for the university’s basketball and football games, which he said is “something that is valuable to us because it allows us to align ourselves with the most important entity in this market.”
WTWO’s sales team also has advertisers who sponsor projects relating to health and education.
“We do sell sponsorships,” Mr. Forgey said. “That helps us not only with advertising revenue but what we feel is our public relations and image in the market.”
For example, WTWO has a program called “Buddy Check 2,” which is a breast cancer awareness and prevention program. The station asks women to designate a buddy-and once a month they remind each other to do self-exams. WTWO runs promotions and sends out breast exam kits that give directions on how to do it.
According to BIA Financial Network, the market’s cable penetration is 61 percent. One of the major cable systems is Time Warner Cable, which covers Terre Haute and offers 20 networks in which to insert ads.
One source familiar with Time Warner Cable said it had a recent digital upgrade. “They probably are doing about $700,000 a year here in a $16 million television market,” the source said.
Another source in the market said of Time Warner Cable: “I don’t think they’re much of a factor-we don’t feel like they’re a major player for the same television budget we’re in.”