This week we received an e-mail from an in-county business group informing us that Wichita television stations were going to be here to sell advertising on their stations. “Hope to see as many of you there as we can!” the e-mail gushed. “This will be a great opportunity for our community!”
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen local groups trip over themselves in a rush to say what a great deal Wichita TV advertising is. It would be almost comical if it wasn’t competing with local companies who specialize in business promotion.
There was a time when the big three — ABC, CBS, and NBC — unquestionably ruled television. But that time has long since passed. The proliferation of cable and satellite channels give viewers so many other options to watch that viewership is fractured. While Wichita stations have stopped using and releasing Nielsen ratings, other markets show that even the highest rated local stations reach maybe 4 percent of viewers with peak programming like local news and popular game shows.
Wichita television representatives aren’t coming to Marion County to sell primo ads on the evening news at great rates. They can do that in Wichita.
Beyond the divided viewership, consumers are increasingly moving away from traditional television, whether broadcast, cable, or satellite. Many consumers — primarily young ones — are instead turning to on-demand streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO GO.
And as happens with so many other issues, Marion County’s location further complicates television advertising decisions. Marion County is on the northeast edge of the Wichita television market, which otherwise stretches south to Oklahoma, west to Colorado, and north to Nebraska in the western third of the state. But it doesn’t stretch to Emporia, Manhattan, Junction City, or even to Burdick. If you had a business or event in Marion County, what good would it do to advertise four hours away in Goodland when people 50 minutes away in Emporia can’t see it?
This isn’t to say television advertising isn’t right for some businesses. But it isn’t the end-all, be-all of marketing.
— ADAM STEWART