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KING of the Hill

Station rules Seattle in lucrative market 7/29/2005 08:00:00 PM Eastern



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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.”

The Demos
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 2004 75 Markets Report
White 87% 105
Black 4% 37
Hispanic 6% 49
Asian 4% 158



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