By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/22/2004 8:00:00 PM
Oil is still part of Houston's identity, but the city's economy is now driven by a thriving service sector. Since the bust of the 1980s, Houston has bounced back. And the nation's 11th-largest TV market boasts a competitive media landscape.
Belo's KHOU emerged as the market's news leader in May, though not by much. The CBS affiliate took the top spot at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., finishing a close second at 10 p.m. ABC-owned KTRK won the 10 p.m. slot and claimed the most viewers for the total day. "It's all about consistency," says General Manager Henry Florsheim. "Our lead anchor, Dave Ward, has been at the station for over 35 years, and we've been No. 1 most of that time."
KPRC, owned by Post-Newsweek, finished third at 10 p.m., as it has for much of the last decade. Yet it's a tight race. The three stations are separated by less than 3 household share points.
The newscast of Fox O&O KRIV easily outdraws Tribune's WB affiliate KHWB at 9 p.m. Fox also owns UPN affiliate KTXH.
KTRK fills its early fringe and prime access time with news programs. Plus, it runs the market's longest continuous news block from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
On the Spanish-language front, Houston's large Hispanic population supports five full-time stations. Univision's KXLN dominates in both audience share and ad revenue. BIA estimates that Spanish-language stations extract about 16% of the market's TV revenue, while recording about 18% of the viewing.
Flat terrain renders cable unnecessary for many residents. Just over half of households have it, one of the lowest penetration rates in the country. Time Warner and Belo Corp. recently pulled the plug on News 24, their jointly operated cable news channel. Jack Sander, Belo's president of media operations, cited the presence of "well-established competitors that made it difficult for a new brand to gain a foothold."
After several off years, Houston is poised to generate about 30,000 new jobs in 2004. That's testament to the market's economic evolution, Florsheim says. "We are a diverse market ethnically, and we have a far more diversified economy now. This is a dynamic growth market." Jim Kollaer, president of the Great Houston Partnership, agrees: "The larger forces shaping the Houston economy are aligned in our favor."
|Big money is a Houston hallmark. Enron's downfall hasn't dimmed its citizens' net worth. Nearly 1 in 5 households reports income of over $100K. Crime and traffic are top-of-mind concerns. Houstonians own home-security systems and visit online traffic sites at much higher rates than the national average.|
|Who||Share of pop.||Index*|
|Sources: Scarborough Research 2003 Release 1
Multi-Market (Feb. '02-March '03)
*Index is a measurement of consumer likelihood. An index of 100 indicates that the market is on par with the average of the 75 local markets.
NM = Not large enough to be measured
**Activities engaged in past 12 months
|Below $50K HH||52%||102|
|BY THE NUMBERS**|
|Three or more in household||57%||112|
|Went online to check traffic||6%||162|
|Owns home security system||27%||144|
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