KING of the Hill
Station rules Seattle in lucrative market
By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/31/2005 8:00:00 PM
Belo Corp.'s NBC affiliate KING may wear the Nielsen crown in Seattle, but a court of well-armed rivals is threatening to depose it. In May, KING nabbed top marks in total day, prime time, and early-morning, evening and late news. The station is so strong that it routinely ranks as one of the most watched NBC stations in the country, even outperforming NBC-owned-and-operated stalwarts like WNBC and KNBC.
Such positioning is lucrative. The Seattle-Tacoma region, Nielsen's 12th-largest TV market, boasts an urbane and affluent population. The per capita income is $21,900, according to BIA Financial, on par with Boston and San Francisco. Seattle TV stations took in $312.9 million in gross revenue last year, up from $286.5 million in 2003. KING grabbed $87 million of that.
Its two closest competitors are Cox-owned CBS affiliate KIRO and Fisher Communications' ABC station KOMO, both of which logged $63 million in revenue last year, according to BIA.
KIRO is trying to zig where its competitors zag. Last winter, it moved the CBS Evening News back to 5:30 and added a 6 p.m. newscast, opposite KING's and KOMO's network news. “This provides our viewers with a choice,” says KIRO VP/General Manager John Woodin. KIRO's news product is nationally recognized: The station recently won its third straight regional Emmy for outstanding daily newscast and also snagged an Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting.
Seattle's residents support a wide array of local newscasts. KOMO recently added the market's first 4 p.m. news. Tribune-owned Fox affiliate KCPQ offers an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast and last year expanded its morning show, which now runs 5:30-9. VP/General Manager Pam Pearson says that show now ties for second among viewers 25-54, the key news audience, even against Today and Good Morning America. “Our strength is, we are live and local,” Pearson says.
KING programs news for KONG, its sister independent station. After KING's morning-news crew finishes its duties on the NBC station at 7 a.m., staffers switch over to KONG and anchor a local-news program from 7 to 9 a.m. KONG also airs a 10 p.m. newscast, which ranks second to KCPQ's. Belo also owns a regional cable news channel, Northwest Cable News, and former KNBC General Manager Ray Heacox becomes president/general manager for the three outlets later this month. Charter and Comcast are the market's major cable operators.
“Seattle is a very smart and well-educated city,” says Pearson. “We have great competition here among the stations.”
|Who||Share of population||Index*|
|*Index is a measurement of consumer likelihood. An
index of 100 indicates that the market is on par with the average of the 75
Source: Scarborough Release 2004 75 Markets Report
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