Mile-High Demand for News
Denver's young, wealthy population craves local product
By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/29/2006 7:00:00 PM
No matter how many newscasts Denver stations put on, the appetite for them only seems to grow. In recent months, nearly every news station in Nielsen's 18th-largest market has added news hours, and ratings remain strong.
The additions are on top of already healthy ratings for even the lower-rated newscasts. Station managers say an affluent, educated population drives demand.
“This is a young market with strong 18-49 demographics and a lot of high tech,” says Bill Schneider, general manager of Fox-owned KDVR.
Illustrating that demand, six English-language stations offer late newscasts in Denver. Whereas many markets have just one “early” late newscast, usually supplied by a Fox station, Denver boasts three 9 p.m. news shows, and all score in ratings.
The newest entrant at that time is MyNetworkTV affiliate KTVD, recently acquired by Gannett Broadcasting to form a duopoly with powerhouse NBC affiliate KUSA. KTVD's news, produced and staffed by KUSAers, debuted Sept. 5 to solid ratings, around a 1.6 in households. By October sweeps, when baseball playoffs pushed Fox affiliate KDVR's 9 p.m. news late, KTVD's ratings gained a rating point. KDVR's Schneider says increased competition from KTVD is good for all the 9 p.m. news: “It will grow viewership, and we have an opportunity to win them over.”
KDVR is the established leader at 9 p.m., and second-place CW affiliate KGWN is also a player. To retain consistency during the baseball post-season, KDVR is running short Webcasts with news headlines at 9 p.m.
Stations are also expanding in other dayparts. On Dec. 4, KTVD will add a KUSA-produced morning news from 7 to 9 a.m. In the past year, KGWN—Tribune's third-largest news station behind WGN Chicago and KTLA Los Angeles—debuted an 11 a.m. newscast and added a 5 a.m. hour to its morning block.
But the most compelling battles are taking place in early evenings. In May, The Oprah Winfrey Show moved from McGraw-Hill's ABC affiliate to CBS-owned KCNC, setting up a showdown in the 4 and 5 p.m. hours. Since replacing its 4 p.m. news with Oprah, KCNC's ratings spiked 19% in the time period, and the lead-in has bumped its 5 p.m. news up 18%. The station also added a 6:30 p.m. local newscast following CBS Evening News With Katie Couric.
“We've changed our entire 4-7 lineup, and people are finding it and getting used to it,” says General Manager Walt DeHaven.
KMGH, meanwhile, is still finding its footing. The ABC outlet's ratings are down since replacing Oprah with news, but General Manager Darrell Brown believes the game plan will eventually work. “News is the best counter-programming for Oprah,” he says.
KMGH also moved Jeopardy! to 6, where it leads into Wheel of Fortune against news on both KUSA and KCNC.
Amid all the changes, KUSA remains news king in the market. The station wins all major dayparts, including the key 10 p.m. news, where it nearly doubles KCNC's and KMGH's ratings combined. Because KUSA has been strong for decades, tuning in to its news is simply habit for many viewers.
With the additional KTVD newscasts, the station will produce a hefty 47 hours of news per week. The news department staff has grown by 10%—an uncommon situation in an era of doing more with less.
Says General Manager Mark Cornetta, “You don't see a lot of growth like that in our industry right now.”
I am concerned with the beginning of reruns for the new show, "Brothers
and Sisters". Does this mean ABC is not continuing the filming of this
series? Please do not discontinue the show !!! TV NEEDS more well
written, well acted serials that are not murder mysteries, medical
fantasties, etc. In the past years, ABC would start a good series, get a
following, but then pull it off, leaving many watchers disappointed. The
last time this happened, my friends and I vowed never to watch ABC
again. Please let me know via my e-mail if you plan to pull this series.
Ruth Brookfield - 12/3/2006 11:28:00 PM EST
No related content found.
No Top Articles