Local Market Spotlight: LaCrosse-Eau Claire, Wis.

Sep 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The LaCrosse-Eau Claire, Wis., market has been faring well in the third quarter and has not been hit by the ad recession, partly due to a strong local economy.
CBS affiliate WKBT-TV General Sales Manager Barb Pervisky said the market is “getting close to being on fire.”
According to BIA Financial Network, LaCrosse-Eau Claire TV revenues for 2000 were $25 million and are expected to be about $25.5 million in 2001.
Ms. Pervisky said LaCrosse-Eau Claire is known as a test market for products, also called a “B-Scan” market (which stands for Behavior Scan), where new products are marketed to the public oftentimes through television ads urging viewers to buy them.
She said Behavior Scan products will pay “nonpre-emptible rates” for spots, which are more expensive. She said products such as Pledge wipes from S.C. Johnson, Pepsi, Dial soap and Dreyer’s Ice Cream are currently being tested in the market.
Ms. Pervisky tracks B-Scan revenue and said that revenue was up from year to year in the market. “That’s one of the reasons our market is very active,” she said.
Top ad categories are auto and retail. Fast food, medical and furniture categories are coming back to the market.
The market has a new Saturn auto dealership, and large employers are the Gundersen Medical Center and Trane, an air-conditioner manufacturer. A new brewery in LaCrosse called the City Brewery recently opened and makes two kinds of beers.
“It’s a fairly healthy economy,” Ms. Pervisky said. “The ad recession hasn’t hit. I talk to the other markets, and they say it’s not going for them like it’s going for us.”
WKBT has one full-time salesperson selling the station’s Web site. The station also sells sponsorships for the City Cam, which shows shots of downtown during newscasts. And WKBT streams parts of its newscasts everyday on its Web site.
Michael Spiesman, president of Continental Television Sales, said the market suffered double-digit declines in the first half of 2001. He said that was mostly due to losses in the auto, retail and political categories. “However, third quarter there is a tremendous turnaround,” Mr. Spiesman said. “Third quarter will see growth from auto, fast food and retail.”
According to BIA Financial Network, the market has 61 percent cable penetration.
Scott Arenz, Charter Media’s general sales manager in the market, said Charter offers 24 cable networks for ad inserts and seven geographical zones.
“The market is good, and it’s trending in the right direction,” Mr. Arenz said. “Over the last few years we’ve really, really had some huge strides with businesses we couldn’t reach before. They’re starting to talk to us more.”
Mr. Arenz said advertisers like the fact that cable offers the ability to target geographically and demographically.
“People know what HGTV is. They definitely know what ESPN is, and these channels have their own niches,” Mr. Arenz said. “Third quarter is doing pretty good, and in fourth quarter we expect to do well. The economy was down in the beginning of the year for everyone.”