Local Market Spotlight: Chico-Redding, Calif.

Dec 17, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Station managers in the Chico-Redding, Calif., market said ad sales have cooled off since 2000, but most managers still expect to finish up for the year.
“The good news about Chico-Redding is that when the economy’s in the tank, we’re still going OK,” said John Stall, general manager of Fox affiliate KCVU-TV and UPN affiliate KRVU-TV. “We don’t have the dot-com business, and we have a good local economy because there are 45,000 college students in the DMA.
“And because it’s a nice place to live and housing is still relatively inexpensive and it has that Northern California mystique, we’re still seeing some fairly decent growth. We’re still young enough in our development in both Chico and Redding that some of the big-box stores are just starting to come in. In the last six months we’ve seen Macy’s come in, Best Buy, Lowe’s-and these are all major television advertisers. So that’s helping to drive our rates up a little bit because our inventory’s in much higher demand.”
According to BIA Financial Network, Chico-Redding TV revenues were $19.8 million in 2000 and are expected to be $19 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are automotive, fast food and furniture. Health care is also a strong category, though sales have declined in recent years.
“We used to get a lot of medical advertising, but everything got consolidated under one hospital a couple years ago and they’re not advertising anymore,” said Marshall Thompson, general manager of The Adworks, a turnkey operator that handles local cable ad sales for AT&T in the Chico area.
According to BIA Financial Network, the market has 58 percent cable penetration out of 175,620 television households. David Gatti, local sales manager for Charter Media, which offers 20 channels for ad insertion in the Redding area, said the combination of ad sales and community-based events has helped his company increase ad sales 16 percent from last year.
“This area has a huge heart,” Mr. Gatti said. “And a lot of what the broadcasters really haven’t taken from this community is trying to tie other businesses together and generating income. Event-based marketing-at this point we haven’t had a no. It’s been a real winner.”
Other events that managers expect will impact ad sales in 2002 include sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, and the California elections.
“We anticipate a fairly heated [governor’s] race,” said Tony Kiernan, general manager for CBS affiliate KHSL-TV and NBC affiliate KNVN-TV. “Then you have all the congressional seats that are up, and we have local races that get television advertising here. So the combination of Olympics and the political year, the fact that the primary is going to be in the first quarter, ought to get this market off to a very good start for 2002.”