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Success Stories: Memphis Buyers like Advertorials

Aug 18, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Advertorials, on-air and on the Web, are helping Memphis TV stations increase revenue.
Jim Doty, director of sales for WPTY-TV and WLMT-TV, the Clear Channel-owned ABC and UPN affiliates, respectively, has seen great success selling area businesses on 30-minute theme-based advertorials.
“We find eight sponsors, and each gets three minutes [of airtime]. Topics have included a college tour, a holiday shopping guide and a builder show,” Mr. Doty said. “The shows are done as information and entertainment, with a host who introduces each segment.”
The stations also picked up Memphis Wrestling and procured several sponsors, from a men’s clothing store to a car dealership. WPTY relaunched its news and retooled the news staff, as did rival WREG-TV, the CBS affiliate owned by the New York Times Co. Broadcast Group.
“We added 20 additional people to the news staff, added 10 hours of news a week and expanded our sales team,” said WREG President and General Manager Bob Eoff.
Like ABC, The CBS station has cut back on syndicated shows in favor of local programming. It does a sports wrap-up on Sunday, plus a half-hour outdoor show on fishing and hunting.
WMC-TV, the NBC affiliate, has rebuilt its Web site half a dozen times in an effort to reap revenue from the Internet.
“We’ve learned banners don’t work,” said Howard Meagle, VP and general manager of the Raycom Media-owned station. “We now use the Web site more for contact generation and data mining for the clients.”
But what brings in the money? Streaming infomercials. The station had been streaming video for the news desk for more than a year, but this past spring started streaming video with advertisers who demonstrate their expertise. Videos at www.wmctv.com include experts showing how to construct a deck and a termite removal service showing what termites look like and how they can damage a home.
TV revenues for Memphis are expected to grow to $108.3 million in 2003, up from $104.6 million in 2002, according to BIA Financial Network.