Southern Style

Atlanta boasts vibrant economy but little TV competition


Local Flavor

The official seal of the city of Atlanta features a phoenix, the
legendary bird that rises from its ashes. Atlanta has emerged from the ruins of
the Civil War and from the civil-rights struggle to become one of the most
economically sound regions in the nation. Home to 13 Fortune 500 companies,
including Coca-Cola, it's also a significant cable center: HQ for Cox, CNN,
TNT, Cartoon Network and The Weather Channel.

The ninth-largest TV market also encompasses parts of three states and
harbors nearly 6 million people. The one constant for television in the past
decade is the dominance of Cox-owned WSB. One of the best-performing ABC
affiliates, it had the top early newscast in May and won every daypart except
prime time, while raking in $135 million in ad revenue last year, according to
BIA estimates. Total market revenue is estimated to reach $562 million this
year, up 8.5% from 2003.

Relatively weak competition helps maintain WSB's status. Meredith's CBS
affiliate WGCL has undergone a series of ownership and personnel changes and
has not yet gained traction. WXIA, Gannett's NBC station, has only recently
begun to recover from a lengthy ratings slide.

Market demographics are also changing rapidly. Six counties in the
market rank among the nation's top 10 in Hispanic growth, although Atlanta has
only one Spanish-language TV station, Univision-owned WUVG.

In May, Fox O&O WAGA rode the popularity of local singer Diana
DeGarmo on American Idol to its first prime
time win. Its 10 p.m. newscast edged past WSB's 11 p.m. show (10 rating/15
share vs. 9/17). "The demographic skew of the marketplace very closely mirrors
Fox's primary target," says WAGA General Manager Gene McHugh, "and that's
helped us." Independent WTBS operates as a local station in Atlanta, although
it is known as a "superstation" to national cable audiences.

Comcast controls most of the cable market. Its ad arm, Comcast
Spotlight, inserts local ads on more than 40 networks. About 69% of the market
subscribes to cable, while 24% takes satellite service.

With no natural boundaries to constrain its growth, Atlanta has become a
poster child for urban sprawl. The Chamber of Commerce assembled a task force
to develop recommendations to help accommodate an estimated 2.5 million new
residents expected by 2030. "There is a growing recognition here that
continuing the current trends is a bad idea," says Chamber Vice President Kevin
Green. "We cannot afford to let growth happen and just hope for the best."

The Demos
Relatively young, wealthy and connected, Atlantans enjoy tennis,
running and lifting weights. They are far more likely than the national average
to have a broadband Internet connection. Long commute times mean high wireless
bills: Three out of four adults have a cellphone, one of the highest ratios in
the U.S.
Who Share of population Index*
Source: 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
18-34 36% 113
18-49 69% 111
25-54 64% 109
35+ 64% 94
Married 55% 100
Never married 27% 105
College grad 25% 106
White 71% 86
Black 25% 208
Hispanic 7% 56
Asian NM NM
$100K+ HH 18% 116
$50K+ HH 55% 112
Below $50K HH 45% 88
Has broadband Internet 23% 120
Reads newspaper online 16% 136
Played tennis 10% 180
Went jogging 23% 115
Owns home security system 31% 163
Lifted weights 25% 122