News Articles

In Top Markets, Late News Still a War Zone

1/04/2004 07:00:00 PM Eastern

ABC-owned stations in two of the top three markets got credit and ink for unseating their NBC competitors for late-news bragging rights in household ratings during the November sweeps.

But ABC, like many others, discourages attention to the household number, with executives there pointing out repeatedly and emphatically that TV is a sales medium and nobody
sells on that number. In addition, the majority of buys are made on a five-day average (Monday-Friday), although some stations prefer seven-day numbers (see a listing of the top 10 markets and the numbers on page 8).

According to the just-released November books, then, NBC's WMAQ-TV Chicago actually stayed in its seat, beating ABC's WLS-TV for the No. 3 market's top spot in the key 25-54 news demo, the one the majority of advertisers sell on.

"The days of getting all excited about the household beauty pageant are going to be further behind us with people meters," says WMAQ-TV President Larry Wert, referring to Nielsen's new measuring device. Local people meters, already being used in Boston and being rolled out in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, will provide daily demo information, so that stations won't have to wait for ratings books.

"We won virtually every demo in the late news," Wert points out. Both the ABC and NBC stations were down from last November, though, while CBS's WBBM-TV was up. "There has been a lot of change and turbulence in the market, but, demographically speaking, which pays our bills, I like where we are," he says.

"They have beaten us in the past in the late-news demos," says WLS-TV General Manager Emily Barr, "but take a look at where their demos were a year ago versus where they are today, which is down significantly."

In top market New York, where WABC-TV swept the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. news in households, WNBC-TV was No. 1 in the 25-54 demo Monday-Friday and edged WABC-TV by a share point in Monday-Sunday. "The important thing is demographics because that's what our customers care about," says WNBC-TV President and GM Frank Comerford. "In adults 25-54, we won by a rating point over ABC and two ratings points over CBS."

NBC also continued strong in No. 2 market Los Angeles and No. 5 San Francisco.

In Los Angeles, KNBC-TV beat KABC-TV for the late-news Monday-Friday title, building on its lead from November 2002, while KABC-TV was down. KNBC-TV also won the Monday-Sunday demo convincingly after being edged out by KABC-TV a year ago. KCBS was still third but gaining in both categories.

It was a similar story in San Francisco. NBC's KNTV(TV) was up strong in its third November sweeps as an NBC outlet, CBS' s KPIX(TV) showed improvement (and winning the household number in the time period), and ABC's KGO-TV was down.

Many of CBS's top-market O&Os and affiliates made gains, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas, although the competition in Dallas and New York was up as well.

It wasn't all up for CBS. In Boston, marking its first November sweeps under the new local people meter, news viewing at 11 p.m. was up, but the CBS station ticked down slightly. CBS Washington affiliate WUSA(TV) also was down, though tied for second place in the seven-day 25-54 demo. The CBS affiliate in Atlanta was also down significantly. CBS has struggled there since having to move its affiliation from WAGA-TV, ch. 5, to WGCL-TV, ch. 46, during the mid 1990s.

CBS, which dropped its 11 p.m. newscast for syndicated programming in Detroit, discovered that everybody loves Raymond
a lot more than they did the newscast it replaced. While many CBS O&Os and affiliates recorded solid sweeps gains, though often for ratings-challenged newscasts, none could boast the kind of percentage increases that WWJ-TV's move generated.

WWJ-TV could muster only a barely registering 0.8 rating/3 share in the key 25-54 news demo (Nielsen Monday-Friday average) with its newscast in November 2002, and an even more anemic 0.5/2 in 18-49s. The station had tried without success to draw viewers to its news operation after moving from ch. 2 to ch. 62, also part of the great affiliation switches of the mid '90s. After news was dropped in favor of syndicated runs of off-net Everybody Loves Raymond, however, the station's 25-54 rating/share more than tripled to a 3/10.

WWJ-TV's new viewers appeared to come at the expense of both the news and syndicated competition. The newscast for ABC's WXYZ-TV dropped by more than a rating point in the 25-54 demo, and The WB affiliate WDWB-TV went from a 0.7 for Will & Grace
to a 0.3 for Elimidate.

How Media did
+19.9%
A much better year for media stock. Just 11 of the 80 TV- and radio-related stock tracked by Broadcasting & Cable posted even small losses for 2003, a far better performance than in the previous recession- and accounting-scandal-battered couple of years. The B&C 10 index of large media companies rose 19.9%, lagging the 24.7% gain in the Dow Jones Industrials, but cable operators, TV-station groups and radio groups kept pace or beat the broad market
Dec. 29 YTD
Source: CNET Investor (investor.cnet.com). This information is based on sources believed to be reliable, and while extensive efforts are made to assure its accuracy, no guarantees can be made. CNET Investor assumes no liability for any inaccuracies. For information regarding CNET Investor's customized financial research services, please call 415-344-2836.
XM Satellite $26.29 877.3%
Sirius $2.56 300.0%
Crown Media $8.11 258.8%
Charter $4.04 242.1%
Scientific-Atlanta $27.37 130.8%
Pegasus $28.91 120.7%
Paxson $3.90 89.3%
World Wrestling $13.15 63.4%
Univision $39.60 61.6%
Playboy $16.15 59.4%
Young Bcstg. $20.14 52.9%
EchoStar $34.01 52.8%
Vivendi $24.12 50.1%
Hughes Elect. $15.97 49.3%
Cumulus $22.11 49.1%
Interactive Corp $33.13 44.5%
Disney $23.38 43.3%
Cablevision $23.03 37.6%
Time Warner $17.87 36.4%
Comcast Corp. $30.60 35.5%
TiVo $7.02 34.7%
News Corp. $35.16 33.9%
Belo $28.47 33.5%
Liberty Media $11.82 32.2%
Emmis $27.43 31.7%
Sinclair Bcstg. $15.18 30.5%
General Electric $30.61 25.7%
Clear Channel $46.67 25.2%
Gannett $88.60 23.4%
Scripps $94.02 22.2%
Cox Comm. $34.39 21.1%
Meredith Corp. $48.43 17.8%
Hearst-Argyle $27.56 14.3%
McGraw-Hill $69.02 14.2%
Entravision $11.34 13.6%
Fox Ent. $28.94 11.6%
Tribune $50.71 11.5%
Cox Radio $25.25 10.7%
Acme $8.80 10.4%
Gemstar $4.89 9.6%
LIN TV $26.45 8.6%
Media General $65.00 8.4%
Washington Post $797.13 8.0%
Viacom Cl. A $43.51 6.6%
New York Times $47.13 3.1%
Westwood One $34.12 -8.7%
Insight $10.51 -15.1%
Sony $34.40 -16.7%
Granite $1.35 -34.1%
Interep $1.40 -39.9%
Princeton Video $0.00 -90.0%
Sonicblue $0.00 -97.5%
The Late-Night News Race
In the top 10 markets, the battle for dominance among adults 25-54 at 11 p.m. (or 10 in the Central Time Zone) is what Nielsen-watchers look out for. As these figures show, it's mainly a battle between NBC and ABC owned or affiliated stations, but, in some cities, CBS-owned stations perked up, too. (The charts below omit Fox and independent-station newscasts, which usually run an hour earlier.)
1 New York
*Rating/share is for Everybody Loves Raymond, which replaced newscast.
Source: WRAP Sweeps analysis of Nielsen Media Research.
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WNBC(TV) NBC 4.6/12 4.4/12
WABC-TV ABC 4.4/12 4.0/11
WCBS-TV CBS 3.1/8 1.9/5
Mon.-Sun. Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WNBC(TV) NBC 4.2/12 4.1/12
WABC-TV ABC 4.2/11 3.8/11
WCBS-TV CBS 3.1/8 1.9/5
2 Los Angeles
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
KNBC-TV NBC 3.9/15 3.8/14
KABC-TV ABC 3.0/12 3.6/13
KCBS-TV CBS 2.0/8 1.9/7
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
KNBC-TV NBC 3.7/14 3.4/13
KABC-TV ABC 3.0/11 3.5/13
KCBS-TV CBS 2.0/8 1.8/7
3 Chicago
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WMAQ-TV NBC 6.9/16 9.0/20
WLS-TV ABC 6.3/14 7.2/16
WBBM-TV CBS 2.9/6 2.5/6
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WMAQ-TV NBC 6.4/15 8.1/18
WLS-TV ABC 5.8/13 6.8/16
WBBM-TV CBS 2.7/6 2.7/6
4 Philadelphia
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WPVI-TV ABC 7.6/21 7.6/21
WCAU(TV) NBC 6.3/17 7.4/21
KYW-TV CBS 4.3/12 3.4/10
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WPVI-TV ABC 7.1/20 7.1/20
WCAU(TV) NBC 5.7/16 6.5/18
KYW-TV CBS 4.0/11 3.3/9
5 San Francisco
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
KNTV-TV NBC 3.9/18 3.1/16
KPIX(TV) CBS 2.6/12 2.3/11
KGO-TV ABC 2.4/11 2.4/12
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
KNTV-TV NBC 3.5/18 2.9/14
KPIX(TV) CBS 2.3/12 2.1/11
KGO-TV ABC 2.3/12 2.5/12
6 Boston
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WHDH-TV NBC 5.3/17 5.1/18
WCVB-TV ABC 4.3/14 4.1/15
WBZ-TV CBS 3.6/12 3.7/13
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WHDH-TV NBC 5.0/16 4.9/17
WCVB-TV ABC 4.2/14 4.1/14
WBZ-TV CBS 3.3/11 3.4/12
7 Dallas/Fort Worth
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WHDH-TV NBC 5.3/17 5.1/18
WFAA-TV ABC 8.0/18 7.2/17
KXAS-TV NBC 7.6/17 7.5/18
KTVT(TV) CBS 4.2/9 3.4/8
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WFAA-TV ABC 7.1/16 6.7/16
KXAS-TV NBC 6.9/16 6.8/17
KTVT(TV) CBS 4.3/10 3.1/8
8 Washington
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WRC-TV NBC 5.3/20 4.8/17
WJLA-TV ABC 3.3/12 4.2/15
WUSA(TV) CBS 3.0/11 3.3/12
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WRC-TV NBC 4.9/19 4.3/16
WJLA-TV ABC 3.0/11 3.9/14
WUSA(TV) CBS 3.0/11 3.4/12
9 Atlanta
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WSB-TV ABC 5.9/20 5.8/18
WXIA-TV NBC 4.7/16 5.2/16
WGCL-TV CBS 1.8/6 2.7/8
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WSB-TV ABC 5.8/19 5.9/18
WXIA-TV NBC 4.4/14 4.7/14
WGCL-TV CBS 1.8/6 2.4/7
10 Detroit
Mon.-Fri.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WDIV(TV) NBC 7.8/25 7.7/24
WXYZ-TV ABC 4.6/15 5.7/18
WWJ-TV CBS 3.0/10* 0.8/3
Mon.-Sun.
Nov. 03 Nov. 02
Station Affil. Rtg/Shr Rtg/Shr
WDIV(TV) NBC 7.3/23 7.1/22
WXYZ-TV ABC 4.4/14 5.7/17
WWJ-TV CBS 2.6/8* 0.9/3

 

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