Market: Des Moines/Ames, Iowa

Feb 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

CBS affiliate KCCI-TV, Des Moines, Iowa, generated nontraditional revenue last year by hosting a women’s expo, which was so successful that the station will bring it back again this year.
KCCI General Manager Paul Fredericksen said the expo’s keynote speaker was Dr. Phil McGraw of “Oprah Winfrey Show” fame, and the all-day event had 100 exhibitors. Despite an admission fee, about 10,000 people attended the event.
“Not only was the event a huge success itself from an attendance standpoint, but also from the standpoint of revenue,” Mr. Fredericksen said. Exhibitors bought ad schedules on the station to promote their appearances at the event. Many of the exhibitors were from the medical category, such as hospitals offering free women’s health screenings. Auto dealers catering to women were also at the expo.
According to BIA Financial Network, Des Moines-Ames TV revenues were about $58 million for 2001 and are expected to be $59.7 million in 2002. Top ad categories are auto, retail, furniture and fast food.
According to Jennifer Stuber, a media buyer at local ad agency Strategic America, the Des Moines market does not have the highs and lows of other markets in terms of the ad economy. “We have some negative impact, but we just keep plodding along and doing our thing, and at end of day we’re a pretty strong market,” Ms. Stuber said. “Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.”
But at NBC affiliate WHO-TV, General Manager Mike Bock said the market was down in every quarter during 2001, for an average drop of 5 percent from 2000. He said business did improve in the fourth quarter, though. WHO had its own festivals, including a Kids Fest and an Over-50 Expo.
WHOTV.com began offering an Ask the Experts area in June. The program connects WHO’s Web site visitors with online experts to answer any questions they have. Ask the Experts has become a new revenue stream for WHO, getting two-year commitments from some advertisers. The advertiser pays for annual commitments that include airtime, a chat room and a link to the advertiser’s Web site.
For the first quarter of 2002, the market is pacing ahead of last year. “I think the market is going to do much better,” Mr. Fredericksen said. “We bottomed out, and we’re coming back.”