Archive for April, 2010

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

Welcome to WFLA’s Newest Weekend Meteorologist, Brooks Garner

Brooks Garner will be joining WFLA’s staff on May 3rd to take over the weekend evening meteorologist position.  Brooks has worked at WIS TV as Chief Meteorologist in Columbia, South Carolina the past 5 years.  Prior to that he worked for WHDH in Boston as a weather producer.  Brooks is a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and Mississippi State University.   

 Fun Facts about Brooks:

  •  He got his first taste for weather when Hurricane Gloria assaulted his Rhode Island neighborhood back in the 80s, knocking down 150-year-old trees and sending seagulls flying backwards.
  • Years later, he bicycled across the country, from Virginia Beach to Los Angeles — a 4,000 mile trip in six weeks — and personally experienced virtually everything nature has to offer!
  • For undergrad, he pursued his other passion: the arts. Brooks earned a BFA at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, majoring in Film/Video with studies in Graphic Design.
  • He finished graduate studies in Geosciences at Mississippi State University, earning their Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology. Soon after, he was awarded the National Weather Association (NWA) Seal of Approval, and American Meteorological Society (AMS) Seal of Approval, becoming a meteorologist.
  • His career in weather has spanned not just from television, but also to Hollywood! Brooks was the consulting meteorologist for the movie, “Nailed” (2009), starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel, filmed in the Columbia area. He provided daily forecasts to the cast and crew and warned of impending inclement weather that could put production of the multimillion dollar film in danger.
  • Follow Brooks on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/BrooksGarner

April 6, 2010 at 10:29 AM 3 comments


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