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WRWB to start offering new marketing services

WRWB-TV 16 is gearing up to launch a new line of marketing and communications services-a move expected to boost revenues for the station.
The local Warner Bros. Television Network affiliate will offer clients assistance in television production, training support materials, animation, print advertising and with public awareness projects.
“We can offer quality, reasonably priced creative services and production for people who don’t have it either at their agency or in the business,” said Tish Robinson, general manager of WRWB. “We have the personnel and the equipment.”
WRWB plans to target small, boutique advertising agencies that often outsource production work to solo producers or post-production outfits. The station plans to work with local businesses that do not use ad shops regularly or those looking for cost-effective production.
“As we have done more business with the community, we are finding work opportunities with small to midsize companies, doing some of their imaging and communications stuff,” said Julio Ahumada, creative services manager at WRWB. “Another thing that we have encountered is a lot of boutique ad agencies and they have been relying on us to be their production partners.”
The station could generate just under $100,000 in revenues from its new services in 2004, Ahumada added.
Launched in 2000, WRWB is a part of Rochester Television Ventures LLC, a joint venture of the WB Television Network and Connecticut-based Time Warner Cable. It employs 18 staffers. The station’s creative services group has four employees, headed by Ahumada. It soon plans to add one more staffer to the team.
And based on the revenues from its new offerings, WRWB’s total employment could grow.
“How we’ve looked at it is, right now, a lot of the big agencies seem to be growing (but) some of the independent producers that were out there aren’t available for littler agencies,” Robinson said. “There are agencies and clients who want production. If we saw that kind of revenue ($100,000) come in, then we would certainly continue to grow that and add more people. Why wouldn’t we?”
WRWB is in talks with three companies to peddle its new range of services. Ahumada declined to identify the firms.
The station is investing in new software, editing platforms and other equipment in preparation for new business opportunities. From training videos to public relations messages, WRWB hopes to serve clients with different marketing communications requirements.
“There are many situations where a midsize company does not have a reason to advertise on television, but they have public-relations needs,” Ahumada said. “We are not doing press releases yet, but I wouldn’t want to rule that out.”
It is not uncommon for local television stations to offer advertisers assistance with commercials and other promotions. For marketers, it is a low-cost alternative to hiring a large ad agency.
“It can be a revenue-generator,” said Robert VanDenBergh, director of creative services at WHEC-TV 10. “After 9/11 a lot of agencies went out of local production. At that point, local TV stations needed to (step in).”
The local NBC affiliate’s creative-services department has five people that help with these types of services. The station does not view WRWB’s efforts as a threat to its production capabilities.
“I think we can each fill a niche for our own clients,” VanDenBergh said. “I don’t view it as competition.”
WRWB’s programming caters to the much-coveted 18-to-34 demographic. The station features shows such as “7th Heaven,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Reba.” A tough economy in the past few years has forced WRWB to grow slowly. The station previously had plans to launch a local news segment, but now it has no immediate plans for a news venture.
“Because of our relationship with Time Warner Cable and R News, we do run local weather updates in our three-hour morning news/entertainment program, ‘the Daily Buzz,'” Robinson said. “R News provides those for us and at some point we hope to do news in a partnership with R News.”
Robinson is upbeat about WRWB’s future. The station hopes to eventually grab a 5 percent share of the Rochester market. Its new services will expand its offerings and broaden its client base, officials said.
“Economically it has been a better year than the past couple of years,” Robinson said. “A lot of advertisers have begun to recognize the value of a young demo. We have had a dozen new car dealers come on-new business every day. We have really moved from that intro or startup situation to kind of a growth situation.”
(rbj@rbj.net / 585-546-8303)

05/21/04 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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