Thursday, April 07, 2005

The World's Largest Outdoor, Concrete, Free, Municipal Pool

Go to Garden City, Kansas, and that's the wording they use to convince themselves that their swimmin' hole is worth bragging about. As a friend once remarked, "Take away any one of those adjectives and it's just another pool."

That's kind of how we feel about Channel 7's recent press release trumpeting itself as the "No. 1 rated newscast by adults 25 to 54 in the Omaha viewing area." Take away a word or two here and there and they just have a newscast.

Sean Weide breaks details of the February sweeps numbers in this week's edition of The Reader, which hit the stands Wednesday evening.

Having taken a look at the numbers ourselves, we see some sour notes in KETV's horn-blowing, and reasons for all stations to be concerned.

Despite 7's lead among viewers in the 25-54 age group, WOWT captures a greater share of the audience when all viewers are considered. In fact, by that measure, Channel 6 wins the midday, 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. time slots while KETV finishes first only at 6 p.m.

The morning race between the two stations is essentially a dead heat, although a comparison of year-to-year numbers, as well as November-to-February figures, suggests that Channel 6's new team of Trey Jones and Malorie Maddox may give the Big Six an advantage over Channel 7's recently adopted dual-anchor format, which placed the off-putting Elictia Hammond, like an albatross, around John Oakey's neck.

The midday contest appears to be moving in WOWT's direction. Compared with a year ago, when viewers had to suffer through a half-hour with the horribly misplaced Thom Knight, the 11:30 program featuring Jones is up 41 percent.

The news is not all good at WOWT. Among the 25-54 demographic, the station's 6 p.m. audience share dropped 30 percent over last year, and the 10 p.m. cast lost 20 percent. The trend is not positive, and it could explain Pat Persaud's "retirement" at the end of May. Perhaps she saw—or was shown—the writing on the wall.

At Channel 3, there is little good in the most recent numbers. KMTV's share of the audience is down between eight and 33 percent from a year ago, depending on the program. Replacing a local newscast at 6 p.m. with the syndicated Entertainment Tonight does not seem to have helped matters; the station's at 6 p.m. audience is down a whopping 30 percent from 2004 levels, among all viewers. Among viewers 25-54, the news is even worse, with 3's share of the audience off over 45 percent from a year ago.

Perhaps the decision to drop news in favor of ET has led viewers to conclude that KM3 has given up on news altogether. Despite producing what has steadily become a higher quality product, Greg Peterson and company can't seem to catch a break. Even in the 10 p.m time period, where the ratings news is best, KMTV's audience is down nearly eight percent among all viewers, and over 18 percent among those 25-54.

Local news in Omaha is losing viewers when compared to the same period a year ago, reflecting an ongoing local and national trend away from traditional broadcast outlets. In all but the earliest morning news blocks, the percentage of viewers tuning in to the three major news stations in Omaha is down anywhere from three to nearly 16 percent. At 10 p.m., for example, only about two-thirds of those watching television are tuned to 3, 6, or 7.

This leads us to wonder what sort of audience KPTM's repeats of Seinfeld are drawing at that hour. With a third of the audience unaccounted for, it's not unreasonable to assume that Channel 42 might be scoring a 10 or 15 share; if so, Channel 3 could actually be finishing in fourth place. Unfortunately, the numbers that we've seen do not include ratings for KPTM, so any speculation about the strength of their lineup versus that of the news-carrying stations is merely that—speculation.


Will said...

The relative positions of the three main stations seem set in stone.

KMTV has a good show, but Travis Justice's lame, ill-informed "commentary" really stinks up the joint. The best thing to come out of this book might be the termination of you-know who's contract.

A kid can dream, can't he?

WestO said...

Advertisers look at the 25-54 demo. Those are the numbers the sales staff use. KETV never claimed they were #1 in total households, only in that demo.

Ted Brockman said...

The headline on KETV's ratings announcement reads "KETV NewsWatch 7 Rates No. 1 In Every Newscast." What, exactly, do you think they want readers to conclude from that?

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