Tampa Bay Economic Indicators and Trends (First Six Months 2010)

Some highlights from the latest Tampa Bay Economic Indicators Report published by Florida Communications Group Research:

  • Unemployment rates continue to be high in the Tampa Bay market – ending the second quarter with a 12.1% rate – higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.6%.

  • Total home sales for the first six months of 2010 were up by 14.3% in Hillsborough County.
  2010 2009          Percent
January 887 832 6.6%
February              1,068                 951 12.3%
March              1,385              1,211 14.4%
April              1,488              1,226 21.4%
May              1,462              1,267 15.4%
June              1,678              1,487 12.8%
Total             7,968             6,974 14.3%

  • New auto sales showed positive signs of improvement and were up by 14.0% in the Tampa DMA and 14.1% in Hillsborough County.
  2010 2009               Percent
January 22,079 29,145 -24.2%
February 24,689                30,806 -19.9%
March 41,656                33,479 24.4%
April 30,074                31,483 -4.5%
May 29,730                27,430 8.4%
June 36,316               30,599 18.7%
TOTAL 184,544 182,942 0.9%

  • Taxable retail sales – a major barometer in measuring consumer spending – were down 0.7% in the Tampa DMA and by 1.4% in Hillsborough County. However, one positive note was that retail sales from March through June were starting to level off, indicating that sales may finish the year flat compared to 2009.


September 14, 2010 at 9:39 AM 1 comment

FCG Media Kit as a Prezi Presentation

I’ve been experimenting with using Prezi as a new presentation module alternative to the typical Powerpoint presentation you see so often in the business world. This presentation was oriented towards political, using our basic media kit, but adding in some political statistics and information. Take a look, and let me know what you think!

FCG Media Kit on Prezi

June 30, 2010 at 9:54 AM 2 comments

1st Quarter Key Economic Indicators for Tampa Bay Market Show Signs of Growth

Here is the Florida Communication Group Research Department’s Key Economic Indicators report for the Tampa Bay market in first quarter 2010. We are definitely seeing some nice indicators of improvement across the board. Home sales, automotive sales and retail sales are showing growth, while the Tampa Bay unemployement rate is down slightly from the highs of the last two months.  


Unemployment rates continue to be high in the Tampa Bay market – ending the first quarter with a 12.7% rate. However, that 12.7% is down about 1/2 a percentage point from highs of 13.2% seen in January and February of this year.  


Home Sales

Total home sales are on the rise, up by 18.5% in Hillsborough County  

Number of Homes Sold in Hillsborough County


  2009 2008            Percent
Total 13,218 10,350 27.7%
  2010 2009            Percent
January 732 634 15.5%
February 986                 796 23.9%
March 1,164             1,002 16.2%
TOTAL             2,882             2,432 18.5%


Automotive Sales

New auto sales showed positive signs of improvement and were up by 6.5% in the Tampa DMA.  

Retail Sales

Taxable retail sales were down for the 1st quarter by 2.6% in the Tampa Bay DMA and by 4.5% in Hillsborough County. However, one positive trend was retail sales for March 2010 which showed a slight increase of 1.7% in both the Tampa DMA and in Hillsborough County – the first monthly increase in more than two years.

  2009 2008 Percent
Total $52,385,510,832 $57,089,811,449 -8.2%
  2010 2009 Percent
January $4,129,990,782 $4,402,271,107 -6.2%
February $4,300,583,801 $4,463,249,748 -3.6%
March $4,953,261,663 $4,869,197,677 1.7%
TOTAL $13,383,836,246 $13,734,718,532 -2.6%

June 16, 2010 at 10:23 AM 1 comment

Nielsen’s First Quarter 2010 Three Screen Report

Last week The Nielsen Company released the attached first quarter 2010 edition of its Three Screen Report, a quarterly study summarizing how Americans watch video across television, the Internet, and mobile phones. According to the report, video viewing across all major media platforms continues to be fueled in part by the adoption of technologies that improve the consumer experience whether it be quality or convenience.  Penetration of HDTV’s, DVR’s, broadband and smartphones increased at double or even triple-digit rates during the last two years.  

1st Quarter 2010 highlights include:

  1.  HDTV: More than half (52%) of US TV households now have a high-definition television and receive HD signals; between Q1 2008 and Q1 2010, HDTV penetration grew 189%.
  2. DVR: More than a third (36.6%) of homes have a digital video recorder, up 51% from Q1 2008 to Q1 2010, making it possible for more viewers to watch TV programs on their own schedule.
  3. Broadband: 63.5% of homes now have broadband Internet access, with high-speed connections that improve online video delivery, a growth of more than +24%.
  4. Smartphones: Nearly a quarter of households (22%) (up +38% year-over-year) have smartphones (mobile phones with advanced operating systems), making it easier for consumers to “place shift” and watch video wherever they are. Penetration growth rate of +120%.
  5. The US television audience grew 0.6% to more than 286 million viewers – the average viewer tuned in for 158 hours per month in Q1, up 2 hours (or 1.3%) from Q1 2009.
  6. The US online video audience is now 134 million viewers – the average viewer watched online video for 3 hours and 10 minutes per month in Q1.
  7. The US mobile video audience grew 51.2%, crossing the 20 million viewer threshold for the first time – the median viewer tuned in for 3:37 minutes, flat from a year ago.

Even with all this growth of high technology, TV still remains a dominant choice for consumers. According to Nielsen,

Viewers watched 2 more hours of TV per month in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year prior (158:25 vs. 156:24).  They are also continuing to simultaneously use the Internet while watching TV, with the average time spent doing both activities up 9.8% to 3 hours and 41 minutes.


You can download the full PDF of the report here:  http://en-us.nielsen.com/main/insights/nielsen_a2m2_three

June 15, 2010 at 11:35 AM Leave a comment

WFLA Partners with All Children’s Hospital To Raise over $3.3 Million

Each year, WFLA partners with All Children’s Hospital to air a weekend-long telethon. The 2010 All Children’s Hospital Telethon this past weekend was one of the biggest celebrations in their 27-year history. 

In these difficult economic times, WFLA helped raise


for All Children’s Hospital, a testimony to our combined talents, platforms, hard work and dedication.  There is no one in the country that can annually put on 22 continuous hours of television for 27 years as professionally and flawlessly as we can. 

Since 1984 we have raised almost $74 million dollars for All Children’s Hospital and year after year we are constantly honored as one of the top producing markets for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Donations to All Children’s Hospital are still being accepted at http://www.allkids.org/teleth_homepage.cfm?id=214.

June 8, 2010 at 9:06 AM 1 comment

Tampa Bay Area Ranked 3rd in Economic Ranking

According to the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Tampa Bay region’s economy ranked third in overall strength in comparison of six major Southern cities.  The Tampa Bay Partnership, a regional economic development group, released its economic scorecard for fall 2009. The twice yearly scorecard measures the Tampa area against five large metro areas in the South: Atlanta, Dallas, Jacksonville, and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, N.C. 

Overall, the Tampa area finished third out of the six economies, which was the same score it got in spring 2009.  Raleigh-Durham finished first, propelled by its educated work force and high-paying jobs. Atlanta finished last, dragged down by a loss of 140,500 jobs from fall 2008 through fall 2009. 

The economic scorecard measures the six regional economies on six economic indicators. For example, the Tampa area scored last in the housing category. It was hurt by its big drop-off in housing permits. Between the third quarter of 2008 and the same period in 2009, housing permits fell 51 percent in the Tampa area. The Tampa area also has the least affordable apartments, when comparing rents with the Tampa area’s median household income. 

Not known for its high-tech industries, the Tampa area also suffered in the scorecard’s innovation category, finishing fifth. It was dragged down, in part, by the relatively few patents issued to Tampa area individuals or businesses. The Tampa area received 0.58 patents per 10,000 workers in the third quarter of 2009. By comparison, Raleigh-Durham received 4.25 patents per 10,000 workers. 

The Tampa area was the only one to log an increase in average wages between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, the latest period for which information was available. Over that year, the Tampa area’s average wages rose 0.38 percent and every other city saw its wages fall. 

How Regional Economy Measures Up

(Rankings are for the most recent period, Fall 2009)

The Tampa Bay Partnership ranks the Tampa area against five other Southern metropolitan areas on economic factors. In its newly published fall 2009 ranking, the Tampa area finished third overall.

  Tampa Atlanta Charlotte Dallas Jacksonville Raleigh-Durham
Employment and work force 4 6 5 1 3 2
Income and productivity 2 5 6 1 4 2
Housing 6 5 3 2 4 1
Innovation 5 2 3 3 6 1
Education 3 4 6 2 4 1
Transportation 3 6 1 3 5 1
Overall rank 3 6 4 2 5 1

Source:  Reprinted from The Tampa Tribune Business section, 1/29/10

April 13, 2010 at 10:44 AM 3 comments

Are Set Top Boxes the New Nielsen?

I’ve read a lot of marketing research lately on Set Top Boxes and how they could possibly be a replacement for Nielsen ratings.  Each time my VP of Marketing or my company president contacts me to ask my opinion, I have to deliver a solid “Unsure” answer.

One of the main companies providing this service is Rentrak.  The idea is that Rentrak will partner with a Satellite cable provider such as Dish Network and a cable provider (currently they are working with AT&T, I believe), and capture reams of data on what the digital cable boxes that connect to our TV sets are tuned into.  The theory is that there are thousands of set top boxes in any given DMA, and in the best of circumstances, competitor Nielsen only has hundreds of boxes. 

Here is a situation where more is not necessarily better.  For example, although Nielsen only has 610 homes in its Tampa sample at any one time, extensive statistical analysis has been run on our market to prove that number will provide statistically relevant results with low standard of error. Beyond 610 homes, it doesn’t matter if you have 1200 homes or 12,000 homes, you’re not going to significantly improve the standard of error on any particular rating.  In addition, I know to a day, the demographic composition of each of those 610 homes, and I know that sample is very closely matched to represent the market demographics, in terms of age, cable/satellite usage, children in home, race and geography.

Nielsen’s Pat Ligouri made an excellent point in a Media Post article this week:

In a DMA where a telco’s STB HHs represent only 8% of the market’s TV HHs, you will not get a complete picture of tuning activity, especially if those STB HHs are clustered geographically or if the telco’s subscribers have specific age, income, or other characteristic skews that don’t mirror those of the DMA. 

Secondly, I have concerns about limiting TV measurement to only homes with these digital cable boxes.  Again, in the Tampa market, there are over 115,000 homes that still receive cable only over the air (about 6% of the market).   Even if we were to suppose that those 6% of homes won’t drastically affect the ratings one way or the other, Tampa is still a very fractioned media market. (See my earlier post about cable advertising in Tampa Bay).   Currently, Tampa residents are 56% Bright House cable, 15% VerizonFIOS cable, 15% Satellite only (no cable), 8% other cable providers (such as Comcast) and 6% over the air.  In order for me to comfortably accept ratings from a service such as Rentrack, I’d want to see them form partnerships with all of the cable and satellite providers that cover our market, otherwise I would fear highly skewed and inaccurate ratings.

And even IF that were to occur, I’d still want to investigate viewing patterns by TV set.  For example, in my own home, I currently have only one set-top box, yet I have four televisions.  The single set-top box is connected to our “main” TV, but the other three are connect in the old fashioned cable-straight-to-the-wall mode.   One thing we learned during last summer’s digital transition is that viewing patterns by television differ greatly.  The kinds of programming, times of viewing day and number of hours I use my main TV are very different from how I view my television in my bedroom, or how my husband uses the TV in his “mancave”.  During the digital transition, many people would buy the digital converter box for their main televisions, but neglect the bedroom TV.  Correspondingly, viewing levels for the TV dayparts most highly viewed on that bedroom TV (namely early morning news and the late night talk shows like Leno) dropped pretty significantly.

So, while I watch the growth of set top box ratings services like Rentrak with interest, it may be quite some time before I make a recommendation for our company to seriously consider this as a viable ratings option. Wait and see.

April 12, 2010 at 2:57 PM 2 comments

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