The top radio and TV advertising market in the nation (by revenue) may take longer to turn around than other markets. Los Angeles ranks among the worst housing markets in the country. Unemployment is high in California, with over 1 million out of work in L.A. alone. Media are looking to 2010, when healthy political spending is expected for both a Senate seat and the governor’s office.
Along with the rough and tumble ad market, radio broadcasters are coping with the transition to Arbitron’s portable people meter ratings. The PPM, which tends to favor mainstream formats, has led to several format changes in the market and some ratings shifts, particularly for ethnic stations. Univision Communications, which owns five radio stations in the market and a TV duopoly, has refused to use the PPM ratings in Los Angeles and other markets that are not Media Rating Council accredited. KLVE-FM, Univision’s former No. 1 Latin pop station, fell to No. 9 while sister station Mexican Regional KSCA-FM dropped from No. 3 to 17.
Some stations introduced more Spanish-language programming in the top Hispanic market. In January, Entravision Communications dropped its five-year-old Indie Rock simulcast on KDLD/KDLW-FM for El Gato, a contemporary Regional Mexican format, more than doubling its ratings among adults 18-34. In April, Emmis Communications, which could never get its “Movin” format on KMVN-FM to budge in the ratings, signed a seven-year local marketing agreement with Grupo Radio Centro.
Perhaps the biggest switch had CBS Radio’s move from Talk to Top 40 on KLSX-FM, challenging Clear Channel’s KIIS-FM, the No. 1 station in the market. Since the flip, “Amp 97.1” has doubled its ratings and now ranks No. 7.
Though it lost its top perch in radio, Univision’s owned-and-operated KMEX-TV has been the leading station in L.A., regardless of language, for 21 consecutive ratings periods. The station has also been the longtime leader in early news at 6 p.m. and late news at 11 p.m.
KABC-TV, ABC’s O&O, is the top-rated Anglo station in early and late news at 11 p.m. At 10 p.m. KTTV, Fox’s O&O, has the top-rated newscast. Getting into the early news game, KTLA, Tribune’s CW affiliate, in January launched a 6:30 p.m. newscast when the competition is airing network news. Mornings are tight, with all contenders separated by tenths of a rating point. Getting an early start on the daypart, KTLA added a half-hour at 4:30 a.m. to its five-hour morning news block at the same time it added an hour-long newscast at 1 p.m.
After Memorial Day, KNBC-TV, NBC Universal’s O&O, added a half-hour of local news at 4 a.m. KTTV, which is all local from 5-10:30 a.m., extended its 12:30 p.m. news with a half-hour of the best moments from its morning program, Good Day LA.
To offset the growing costs of local news, three of the market’s stations—KNBC, KTLA and KTTV—recently formed a local news service to gather video during commonly covered events, a practice that is sweeping the country. CBS-owned KCBS and its independent sibling KCAL also pool resources, sharing newsrooms and reporters to broadcast 11 hours of local news per day.
The great American billboard market, L.A. serves as ground zero for big campaigns splashed on the sides of buildings. In addition to dominant players Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor, other players include Fuel Outdoor, Van Wagner and Lamar Advertising in the outlying areas of the market. Lawmakers recently shot down legislation that would have amounted to a de facto ban on the build out of more digital billboards, popular with advertisers and a moneymaker for Clear Channel (90 boards) and CBS (14). CBS Outdoor and JCDecaux operate a street furniture joint venture in Los Angeles County. Titan Worldwide offers advertising on buses. JCDecaux also operates advertising in the area airports. Even NBC Local Media is working to get a piece of the OOH ad market, leveraging its on-air and Internet inventory with its out-of-home advertising in Dodger and Angel stadiums and the University Network.
Tribune’s The Los Angeles Times, the fourth-largest daily in the nation, has been through the ringer with changes and layoffs. In March, Tribune consolidated the foreign bureaus of the Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times into a single unit to be run from L.A. The paper also ceased daily publication of its Spanish-language tabloid, Hoy, which is now a weekly.
Hoy, a free publication, competes with impreMedia’s La Opinión, a paid daily. La Opinión remains the sixth-largest daily in L.A. despite a nearly 20 percent drop in circulation with the increase in price from a quarter to 50 cents.
Hoping to figure out a digital model that works for newspapers, MediaNews Group, publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News, the fourth-largest daily, plans in August to deliver personalized newspapers through home printers or portable devices. Following a trial in Denver where MediaNews Group is headquartered, the paper plans to install “I-News” printers in 300 L.A. homes.
* TV DMA Rank: 2
* Population 2-plus: 16,965,606
* TV Households: 5,654,260
* TV Stations (Net/Ind/Multicast/Public): 7/27/7/5
* Wired Cable Households: 2,847,320
* Radio Metro Rank: 2
* Population 6-plus: 12,048,800
* Radio Stations (rated): 64
* Newspapers (Daily/Weekly): 23/70
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