Winning in Vegas
Stations get rich on population boom
By Alison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/17/2005 8:00:00 PM
Las Vegas is one city with two very different stories. Along the glitzy Strip, hotels, casinos and restaurants cater to more than 35 million visitors each year. All around them, the 51st-largest TV market is booming, with feverish population growth and the continuous sprouting up of new businesses.
Each month, between 5,000 and 7,000 people move into the area. That fuels a 3.5% annual population growth, more than three times the national average. Such fruitful conditions are a boon for local broadcasters. Real estate, furniture and automotive advertising are strong.
“With the rapid growth of our market, big chains and new businesses keep moving in,” says Gene Greenberg, general manager for NBC affiliate KVBC. “It creates more competition, and more competition means more advertising.”
The market is so strong that Vegas outperforms markets that are twice its size in population, according to BIA Financial. Local broadcasters took in $212 million in gross revenue last year, up from $194.8 million in 2003, per BIA. KVBC was the top grosser with $57.6 million, followed by CBS affiliate KLAS with $45.8 million.
A constant flow of new residents means stations are challenged to cultivate them as viewers. “People moving in don’t know you or your legacy,” says Emily Neilson, president and general manager for KLAS.
The ratings scene is highly competitive. KLAS and KVBC are neck and neck overall and in key newscasts. In May, KVBC was top-rated overall, edging out KLAS by one-tenth of a ratings point. Late news was equally close, but KLAS has the advantage: Its 11 p.m. news scored a 9.4 rating/19 share, compared with KVBC’s 9.1/18. Fox affiliate KVVU, which offers a 10 p.m. news, was third with a 6.4/10, followed by ABC affiliate KTNV’s 2.6/5. WB affiliate KVWB and independent KFBT, both owned by Sinclair, also offer evening news. KLAS produces a 10 p.m. news for UPN affiliate KTUD.
For Las Vegas’ 20% Hispanic population, Univision affiliate KINC produces the market’s lone Spanish-language news. KVBC offers Spanish closed captions for its news.
Cox Cable is the region’s major cable operator. KLAS and Cox collaborate on a 24-hour cable news network, Las Vegas One. This is a healthy television market that thrives with minimal advertising from the casinos themselves.
“This is a vibrant market,” says Neilson. “As people move here, we are expanding beyond gaming, and diversifying our economy.”
Next: Providence, R.I.-New Bedford, Mass.
|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 local markets.
Source: Scarborough Release 1 2004 75 Markets Report
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