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Hearst-Argyle’s survival guide

Jul 16, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Creating 100 nontraditional revenue sources: These are creative marketing projects between stations and local retailers or community groups involving education, job recruitment, health, weather, culture and the Internet. They will collectively generate more than 4 percent of Hearst-Argyle’s total 2001 revenues, or more than $28 million.
Staying the digital course: Hearst-Argyle has spent $20 million converting eight major-market stations to digital. The remaining stations will be converted to digital for about $20 million by late 2002.
Attracting new advertisers to the fold: Unlikely new advertisers at Hearst-Argyle stations have included the Catholic Church (recruiting new priests) and local fire departments (recruiting volunteer firefighters).
Keeping the Internet alive: Hearst is reaping financial benefits from its station-related Web activities. For instance, a “House and Home” segment has attracted enough new home-improvement advertisers to its Sacramento, Calif., TV station and corresponding Web site to have generated $300,000 in incremental revenues in April alone.
Redefining affiliate relations: As many as 10 Hearst-Argyle stations next season will carry syndicated versions of “Weakest Link” and “The Other Half,” the first original products of the NBC Enterprises partnership with NBC and Gannett, which was formed in December.
Shared revenues generated from successful NBC Enterprises programs will within five years or less offset the $35 million, or 5 percent, of Hearst-Argyle’s total revenues, currently coming from network compensation. Hearst and NBC also have agreed to combine their respective production and syndication units.
Station-sharing to the max: Select Hearst-Argyle stations distribute their internally produced on-air program promotions, news interviews, program specials and series to other company outlets-a move that holds the line on program costs and boosts profits.
For instance, WCVB-TV’s Boston-based “Chronicle” access series is being customized by WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., saving more than $100,000 annually in access program costs.