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South Dakota TV Markets Show Growth

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Television markets in the Dakotas are growing, with most designated market areas (DMA) showing moderate to substantial growth from 2012 to 2013, according to Nielsen.

The recently released updated DMA listing shows that Sioux Falls/Mitchell moved up from 112 to 111 in Nielsen’s market rankings, Fargo/Valley City moved up from 117 to 116, and Minot/Bismarck/Dickinson moved up six all moved up from 151 to 145 in the Nielsen rankings of TV market sizes. Meanwhile, Rapid City remained at 173. Sioux City also remained steady at 147.

TV households grew nationally, according to Nielsen, including all the markets with viewers in the Dakotas. The Minot market had the largest numerical increase of almost nine thousand households, from 150,000 to 158,730, likely reflecting population increase from oil drilling and production in the region.

Fargo added 7,400 households, from 243,890 to 251,290. Sioux Falls added a little over seven thousand households, from 258,460 to 265,470. Sioux City added just over three thousand households, from 154,830 to 157,910. Rapid City added approximately 25 hundred new households, rising from 98,020 to 100,510.

“Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson/Williston jumped six (markets),” said John Petersen, KOTA-TV news director in Rapid City.  ”That’s real growth, and I suspect it is a direct result of the oil and gas drilling in western North Dakota.”

WDAY-TV’s general sales manager in Fargo agrees with the assessment. Carol Anhorn says the growth started a few years ago, when the Fargo DMA went from market number121 in 2010 up to number 116 for 2013.  

“We see this primarily due to business growth and low unemployment attracting families to the eastern half of North Dakota,” WDAY’s Anhorn said. “The oil boom in the western portion of the state is attracting workers for the oil fields and supporting industries. Many of these families are settling in other cities across the state.” 

Anhorn also notes that North Dakota has also been getting good press for many “best of” lists which helps balance preconceived notions of quality of life in the region.

As to the Fargo market, Anhorn says a health economy is the key.

“Businesses with headquarters in Fargo like NDSU, Microsoft, Scheels and Sanford have all been growing and expanding,” Anhorn said.  ”As large employers in our area, that brings more families. They all need cars, food, homes, services, etc. which means additional jobs. Jobs and quality of life for families are the main attractions for growth in our area.

Anhorn adds that the North Dakota economy is one of the strongest, if not the strongest in the nation. So that translates to the media as well.

But the North and South Dakota markets are still in the middle to lower middle of the Nielsen DMAs.  For comparison, New York, the top DMA in the United States, has almost 7.5 million households while DMA number 210, Glendive, Mont., has 4,260 households.

Market size can play a role in whether national advertisers may advertise in certain markets. For broadcasts journalists, they represent the stepping-stones in their careers and local “bragging rights.”

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