Market Eye: Multifaceted Miami (DMA #17)

Diverse market has dynamic TV scene

In some markets, the goal for a Spanish-language station is to beat the other Spanish-language station. In Miami-Fort Lauderdale, they aim for the overall No. 1 spot. Univision's WLTV won Miami's primetime, total day, early evening and late news in May—its 6.2 household rating/10.8 share at 11 bested Telemundo outlet WSCV's 5.3/9.2.

“Univision 23 stands firm in its commitment to inform, educate and entertain the Hispanic community in South Florida,” says Luis Fernandez-Rocha, Univision Southeast senior VP/regional director. “WLTV prides itself in being 'the station of record' for the Hispanic community in Miami.”

The market is 46% Hispanic, according to BIA/Kelsey. Post-Newsweek's ABC outlet WPLG won evening and late news among English-language stations, while Sunbeam's Fox affiliate WSVN took overall mornings and was the top revenue earner with $89.2 million in 2008, per BIA/Kelsey.

Rounding out the No. 17 DMA are the CBS-owned duopoly WFOR and WBFS; NBC-owned WTVJ, which Post-Newsweek was to acquire for $205 million until the deal blew up at the eleventh hour last December; and Tribune's CW outlet WSFL. WJAN and WAMI are other options for Hispanics, and Comcast is the area's main cable operator.

After a period of blockbuster growth, the Miami area was crushed by real estate woes, but managers say things are returning to normal. Tourism is picking up, and automotive advertising is finally on an uptick. “We really hope the worst of the recession is in the rear-view mirror,” says WPLG VP/General Manager Dave Boylan.

A Local People Meter market, Miami is rich with contrasts, such as the high-energy news from WSVN versus the refined presentation on WPLG, which christened a fully HD facility in March. WSVN, owned by real estate magnate Ed Ansin, features a whopping 57 hours of local news a week after adding 11 p.m. weekend newscasts in September. “We feel the future of local television is in local news,” says Executive VP/General Manager Robert Leider. “The way for stations to be viable is to do the most and the best news.”

Several stations are investing in local product. WPLG offers 3½ hours of news on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. WSCV, going for a younger Hispanic demo, added Acceso Total weekdays at 11:30 a.m. The station shares its digs with WTVJ but has separate news. “We have our own people, and WTVJ has theirs,” says WSCV President/General Manager Manuel Martinez-Llorian.

WFOR produces the 10 p.m. news for its MyNetworkTV sister, playing up its investigative brand. “It's not, 'If it bleeds, it leads,'” says President/General Manager Shaun McDonald. “We want to do news that helps people's lives.”

Miami-market GMs say the recent economic ills are but a hangover. “It's a great place to live,” McDonald says. “It may take a while, but it will come back.”

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