Despite a soft national economy and cutbacks from advertisers in response to last month’s terrorist attacks, station managers in Denver say they’re confident the market will weather the economic storm.
“The Colorado economy has had almost a decade of uninterrupted growth,” said Marv Rockford, vice president and general manager of CBS affiliate KCNC-TV. “There was a momentum that had built up in the economy that continued through this year, even though things began to soften up.”
According to BIA Financial Network, Denver TV revenues were $322.1 million in 2000 and are expected to be $325 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are auto, fast food, furniture and telecommunications. “National business has been down double digits for the first half of the year,” said Greg Armstrong, vice president and general manager of UPN affiliate KTVD-TV. “This is a trend that’s happening across the country. It’s a correction year. Then you throw in the events of Sept. 11, and it becomes a question-mark year. But relatively speaking, Denver’s in better shape than most markets. We still have a great local economy.”
According to BIA Financial Network, cable penetration in the Denver market is 62 percent among 1,381,620 homes. Patrick Ivers, vice president and general manager of AT&T Media Services, Denver, said the company has seen steady growth for the past five years and still expects numbers to be “up slightly” for fourth quarter.
“It’s just the growth and the recognition of cable,” Mr. Ivers said. “The broadcasters have been doing this for a long time, and the cable companies are the newcomers. We’re getting smarter about how we sell it, how we represent it. And our clients are getting smarter about how they buy it.”
Several television events are expected to impact ad sales in fourth quarter and next year, including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Mr. Ivers said AT&T has presold 70 percent of the Olympics coverage, 60 percent of which will be carried on MSNBC and CNBC. As for other sports, Mr. Rockford said his station feels fortunate to have a “steady, durable product” like AFC football, and Mr. Armstrong said the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche on his station is a great promotional platform.
Mr. Armstrong also said the addition of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Roswell” to the UPN lineup helped bring new viewers and new advertisers to his station.
“We got business from people we’ve never gotten business from before, just by that move the network made,” he said.