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Stations, sponsors not afraid to be creative

Feb 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Sponsorships and creative ideas are two big sellers in the Seattle-Tacoma market.
Matt Kopp, a media buyer at the Seattle office for ad agency DDB, said stations have been offering sales options with lower rates. “It’s been a trend starting last year,” he said. “It seems as though the smaller stations are coming up with more creative ideas. I think that’s because they have the ability … they don’t have news directors saying, `No we can’t do that.”’
One example, Mr. Kopp illustrated is UPN affiliate KSTW-TV. That station directs viewers who want free tickets to certain events to pick them up at different businesses that advertise on the station.
At NBC affiliate KING-TV, “One of the areas we’re working pretty extensively for the last 12 to 18 months is developing sponsor-underwritten community-based marketing projects,” said General Sales Manager D.J. Wilson.
The sales staffs for KING and its sister station, independent KONG-TV, share a building. They also sell for Pax station KWPX-TV as well as for other Belo properties, including Northwest Cable News and its Web site.
In one of KING’s sponsorship initiatives, the station works with a nonprofit group and a corporate sponsor to develop projects that will benefit the community. For example, it hooked up the online division of a grocery store with Fare Start, a nonprofit group, and developed a program that became a benefit for Fare Start, which teaches disadvantaged people culinary skills. Viewers could go online and register for free meals and cookbooks. A grocery store’s online division paid for the one-night event and got airtime as well as links to KING’s Web site.
“I think it’s very compelling television … it feeds to the sensibility of people who really care about the community,” Ms. Wilson said. “It resonates with the corporate sponsors attempting to not only do good for the community but to advance their business agenda as well.”
Ms. Wilson said the station gets many overtures from nonprofit groups, and the old traditional public service arrangements are not as effective. This way, the programs have more substance, and advertisers also like being involved.
According to BIA Financial Network, Seattle-Tacoma TV revenues were about $361.9 million in 2001 and are expected to be $376.4 million in 2002.
Top ad categories are auto, entertainment, telecommunications, retail, insurance and health care.
At KIRO-TV, sponsorships are extended to Seattle Mariners baseball broadcasts.
KIRO General Sales Manager Sandy Zogg said KIRO sells all the time in the 35 games that air on the station. Popular sponsorship opportunities include “Call to the Bullpen.”
Whenever a new relief pitcher is brought into the game, KIRO airs video billboards and sponsorships so that the segment is “brought to you by” a particular advertiser.
News sponsorships are also in high demand, especially for weather.