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Moderate Growth Expected In Local Media Industry

Television ad rates to increase; radio stations to merge


January 23, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Media executives in Puerto Rico are looking forward to 2003, which they expect will be the launch pad for the industry’s explosive growth in 2004.

Most of those polled by CARIBBEAN BUSINESS said they believe the industry will experience modest growth of 3% to 6% this year. However, they are hopeful the political campaigns of 2004 will inject as much as $20 million into the island’s various media outlets.

In the television arena, the three major networks are expected to increase their advertising rates, in response to basic supply-and-demand economics, according to Univision (Channel 11) Vice President & General Manager Larry Sands. "We no longer run 20 minutes of advertisements per hour; we run 10 minutes per hour," he said. "Other networks have announced they will also reduce their advertising minutes to cut clutter. Basic economics tells you that if demand increases and supply decreases, rates will go up."

Joe Ramos, president & general manager of Televicentro (Channel 4), added that television ad rates in Puerto Rico are currently 75% below the rates in comparable U.S. mainland markets. He said rates on the island should increase 10% to 15% this year and continue upward over the next few years, until they catch up with comparable markets.

Network heads in Puerto Rico also expressed their commitment to support local TV productions. Ramos said he would add at least two new local shows to Televicentro’s programming this year and make substantial improvements to such existing shows as "El Condominio."

Meanwhile, Sands announced Univision has re-signed local game show "Que Suerte" for another year and contract negotiations to extend the run of talk show "Anda pa’l cara" have almost been finalized. Univision Puerto Rico will also produce an "Anda pa’l cara" pilot show for possible distribution throughout the entire Univision network.

Sands said the channel’s news programs are its most important programming component because they provide a daily service to the local community. This year, Univision will purchase a helicopter to improve the daily news coverage, which already includes information from bureaus in Ponce and the Dominican Republic.

Radio executives are even more optimistic, expecting growth of up to 10% for 2003. Ismael Nieves, general manager of radio conglomerate Spanish Broadcasting Service, said he foresees consolidation of the radio industry. He said radio stations will join ranks to present unified audience groups to potential advertisers.

Rumors of the impending sale of El Mundo Broadcasting Group and its stations WKAQ AM and KQ 105 FM flared up again recently. Alleged prospective buyers include Univision subsidiary Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. and Empresas Angelo Medina. Argentina Hills, chairwoman of the board of Angel Ramos Foundation, which owns El Mundo Broadcasting, confirmed the company is considering offers but didn’t identify the prospective buyers. Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora has issued a statement expressing his support for the sale of El Mundo Broadcasting to a local company.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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