powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


NBC5 fares best in low yield Feb. "sweeps" news wars

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
NBC5 chalked up the most wins, Fox4 clung to first place at 6 a.m. and TEGNA8 reclaimed the 10 p.m. total viewers crown it lost in February 2016.

These ostensibly are the headlines from this year’s February ratings “sweeps.” But a bigger headline arguably is the continued year-to-year losses in local newscast audiences for the four major combatants.

As in February 2016, the month came and went without any major weather “events,” either genuine or overblown. An “arctic blast” or two always heats up the D-FW news ratings while unseasonably balmy weather tends to be an overall downer.

CBS11 would just as soon throw the whole month out. After a late night news win a year ago in the total viewers measurement, the station came away empty-handed and not even close to first place at 6 a.m. or 5, 6 and 10 p.m. The opposite was true for NBC5, which more than doubled its win total from a year ago. This included taking away both 6 p.m. crowns from TEGNA8.

Here are the final sweeps results in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). Year-to-year audience decreases or increases are in parentheses.

10 P.M.

Total viewers
TEGNA8 -- 159,964 (minus 3,852)
NBC5 -- 138,151 (minus 10,863)
CBS11 -- 130,880 (minus 42,851)
Fox4 -- 101,795 (minus 19,881)

NBC5 -- 48,107 (minus 8,889)
Fox4 -- 42,094 (minus 20,498)
TEGNA8 -- 39,087 (minus 17,254)
CBS11 -- 27,060 (minus 14,281)

Comments: ABC affiliate TEGNA8 impressively regained first place in total viewers despite having the lowest 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in audiences of any of the four combatants. CBS11 conversely had the strongest lead-in from its network, but still lost 42,851 viewers from a year ago. That’s easily more than the combined losses of its three rivals.

In the key 25-to-54-year-old demographic, NBC dethroned Fox4 and had the smallest audience drop-off from Feb. 2016. But this is the second straight February sweeps period in which all four stations suffered year-to-year audience drop-offs in both ratings measurements.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 87,253 (minus 48,304)
NBC5 -- 72,711 (minus 4,629)
TEGNA8 -- 65,440 (plus 3,540)
CBS11 -- 43,627 (minus 3,188)

Fox4 -- 45,101 (minus 17,729)
NBC5 -- 39,087 (minus 617)
TEGNA8 -- 27,060 (plus 4,648)
CBS11 -- 12,027 (minus 5,890)

Comments: -- Yes, Fox4 won. But given its substantial audiences losses, the station performed like a starting pitcher who goes the minimum five innings, gives up five home runs and ends up winning 10-9. The only plus side is that Fox4 rallied somewhat from a very slow start when regular co-anchor Lauren Przybyl returned to Good Day after missing the early portion of the sweeps with a double-fractured arm. Still, Fox4’s year-to-year falloff in both ratings measurements is gasp-worthy.

In contrast, TEGNA8’s Daybreak remained in third place but was the only station to sport audience gains. Both TEGNA8 and NBC5 are now at least in the early morning game courtesy of Fox4’s sharp fall-offs. Last year at this time it wasn’t even close, particularly in the total viewers measurement, where Fox4 beat runner-up NBC5 by more than 50,000.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 145,422 (plus 6,111)
TEGNA8 -- 138,151 (minus 1,160)
CBS11 -- 101,795 (minus 34,116)
Fox4 -- 94,524 (minus 15,678)

NBC5 -- 45,101 (plus 248)
Fox4 -- 33,078 (plus 2,744)
TEGNA8 -- 33,078 (minus 14,037)
CBS11 -- 27,060 (minus 887)

Comments: We generally break ties by taking the ratings points to a second digit (1.1 to 1.13 for instance). But these extra-precise measurements weren’t available this time. They only add or subtract relative handfuls of viewers anyway. So call it a tie between Fox4 and TEGNA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4 gets a higher position in the above breakdown because it gained a small number of viewers while TEGNA8 showed a considerable deficit.

NBC5 won outright by being the only station to show increases, although modest, in both measurements. CBS11 in contrast hemorrhaged total viewers from a year ago while TEGNA8 easily had the biggest losses from Feb. 2016 in the 25-to-54-year-old realm.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 109,067 (minus 28,119)
Fox4 -- 101,795 (minus 11,098)
TEGNA8 -- 94,524 (minus 7,392)
CBS11 -- 72,711 (minus 20,777)

Fox4 -- 33,078 (plus 2,005)
NBC5 -- 33,078 (minus 1,566)
TEGNA8 -- 21,047 (minus 8,508)
CBS11 -- 15,034 (minus 5,473)

Comments: Fox4’s decision to remove Clarice Tinsley as the solo 5 p.m. anchor and replace her with Steve Eagar and Heather Hays seemed to pay off --- at least in the key 25-to-54 age range. The station also is helped a bit by the 4 to 5 p.m. showing of Judge Judy, which narrowly won that hour with 25-to-54-year-olds while NBC5 First At Four local newscast ran a close second.

In other February sweeps ratings news . . .

***Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast finished in a second-place tie with NBC network programing in total viewers, with the CBS entertainment lineup ranking first. Fox4 and NBC tied for the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds during that hour, although the Peacock had a slightly stronger kick from 9:45 to 10 p.m.

***The three 4 p.m. local news hours were paced by NBC5 in total viewers, with TEGNA8 nipping CBS11 for second place. The Peacock also won among 25-to-54-year-olds while TEGNA8 and CBS11 tied for second.

***CBS11’s syndicated Wheel of Fortune continued to roll at 6:30 p.m., with a dominating win in total viewers versus the competing rag mags on Fox4, NBC5 and TEGNA8. Wheel also comfortably took the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds.

***TEGNA8’s homegrown Good Morning Texas continues to pay the bills with pay-for-play mini-infomercials. It’s otherwise no bargain in the 9 a.m. hour, running fourth in total viewers behind CBS Let’s Make A Deal, NBC’s Today and Fox4’s syndicated Live with Kelly. GMT also finished fourth among 25-to-54-year-olds, with Live with Kelly on top.

***The TEGNA corporation’s first significant syndicated venture, T.D. Jakes, continued to give TEGNA8’s 4 p.m. newscasts a lemon of a lead-in. NBC5’s syndicated Ellen dominated the hour in total viewers, with CBS11’s Dr. Phil second and Fox4’s TMZ Live! third ahead of Jakes. The 25-to-54-year-old demographic likewise was won by Ellen while Jakes again ran fourth.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net