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Life after the dotcoms - Broadcasting & Cable

Life after the dotcoms

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Seattle is known as the "Emerald City," but it would seem to have lost some of its "green" over the past year with the many failures of dotcom enterprises based there. The reality, though, is not as bleak as it may appear at first, according to Dave Lougee, general manager of Belo Corp.'s KING-TV, KONG-TV and Northwest Cable News: The loss of dotcom business "was a hit but, just like its rise, may have been a little over-hyped, because a lot of the other wireless and technology businesses are still out there. Some are being reshaped, but the technology sector remains a growing and important sector in the Seattle-Tacoma market."

Richard Warsinske, general manager of KOMO-TV, offers another explanation for the market's current economic condition: "The first quarter wasn't terrific, but that's magnified after an outstanding last year. Broadcasters have short memories: You're only as good as your last quarter. We had political business in every month of last year, save one. The second quarter continues to be soft, but it's firming up every month. We're optimistically looking at a fourth quarter that might be stronger."

To deal with this loss of a major advertising segment, KOMO-TV has tried to be creative, Warsinske says: "We've long had a focus on developing new business. It's what allows you to make a budget in these kinds of times. Being innovative will serve us well this year."

In addition, he adds, KOMO-TV has "done some things with our Web selling. We are able to take advantage of the power of television to drive people to the Web. We're north of 8 million page views a month on our site, which is not insignificant. We see it as another distribution platform. Our news product is on cell phones right now, on pocket PCs and Palms. We don't do this with armies of people but use digital technology to parse the information to these platforms with a minimum of work."

—Mark K. Miller (
mrkmiller@aol.com
; 301-773-0058)

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