UPN trying to convert WB affils

In an effort to flip WB affiliates to their side, UPN executives are circulating a presentation that argues that the UPN demographic profile is better for developing local station advertising.

UPN chief operating officer Adam Ware confirms the network is in the market working that pitch, and that he and his staff are currently talking to WB stations covering about 2% of the U.S. One of the stations is WHCP(TV) Portsmouth, Ohio, in the Charleston-Huntington, W.Va., market.

The WB says UPN's pitch is full of holes because stations that have recently defected to the WB are doing better in just the demographic profile Ware is talking about.
Ware argues that UPN's demo profile, which he describes as balanced between men and women 18-34 and 18-49, is more attractive to local advertisers than the WB's profile, which he says skews younger (12-34) and more female. "That's not a bad national business but ultimately local business comes from older demos," he says.

UPN's older profile is also more compatible with the syndication programming that tends to lead in and out of prime time, Ware argues.

But WB officials counter that their affiliates, at least some of them anyway, do as well or better than UPN stations in the demos that Ware says builds local advertising.

Three WB affiliates that switched from UPN in January were up substantially in May among adults 18-49 and 18-34. Those stations are in Syracuse, Hartford and Waco. A fourth, in Chattanooga, was up 50% among adults 8-34 but down 9% among adults 18-49. In two other markets, where stations switched from WB to UPN-Providence and Columbus, Ohio--the ratings in key demos have dropped, the WB says. And the WB schedule is still carried on those stations out of pattern and out-performs the UPN, the WB officials say.
- Steve McClellan