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D-FW takes a rare dip in latest Nielsen population estimates (updated)

After years of steady upward movement, the Dallas-Fort Worth TV market surprisingly has lost some eyeballs, according to the latest population and ratings point data from Nielsen Media Research.

D-FW remains the country's 5th largest TV market, retaining a slim edge over San Francisco while trailing New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia in that order. Of the top 10 TV markets, only No. 10 Houston gained audience from last year.

It's a body blow to local TV news operations in particular, many of which had counted on yearly ratings inflation in times when audiences already are getting harder and harder to come by. D-FW, which had been on the cusp of exceeding the 7 million total viewers mark, instead will be falling short of that number.

The latest Nielsen data, which will go into effect on Saturday, Sept. 24th, says that D-FW's total viewer population will be 6,774,106 (67,741 viewers per rating point) as of that date. That's down from the current 6,925,725 (69,257 viewers per rating point).

In fall 2007, each rating point was worth 64,420 viewers. That jumped to 66,430 in 2008 and then to 67,863 in 2009 before hitting the current all-time high. The new total basically reverts back to what a rating point was worth in 2009.

Let's say that a Dallas Cowboys game gets a 15.0 rating in the total viewer Nielsens. Under the current data, that would be 1,038,855 viewers. Under the soon-to-be-implemented new data, that number drops to 1,016,115.

D-FW also took a tumble in the number of TV households and in two key advertiser-sought demographic groups -- 18-to-49-year-olds for entertainment programming and 25-to-54-year-olds for news programming. Here's a look at how all of those numbers kept growing until this latest Nielsen data.

TOTAL TV HOUSEHOLDS (value per rating point for each September of that year)

2007 -- 24,356
2008 -- 24,900
2009 -- 25,444
2010 -- 25,946
2011 -- 25,713


2007 -- 31,534
2008 -- 32,412
2009 -- 32,616
2010 - 32,906
2011 -- 32,023


2007 -- 29,445
2008 -- 30,353
2009 -- 30,690
2010 -- 31,067
2011 -- 30,093

Only one demographic group has grown in the past year, according to the new Nielsen data. And that's viewers 65 years and older, which stations and advertisers consider to be the equivalent of scurvy in terms of setting commercial rates. That total population in D-FW has grown from 673,003 to 673,729, says Nielsen.

It's an up-and-down story regarding the number of Latino and black TV households in D-FW.

Nielsen's new data says there are 504,610 Latino homes in D-FW, down from 526,760.

But the new figure of 396,940 black homes is an increase from 368,640,

Go figure.

D-FW television station managers could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon on these latest possible dings to their bottom lines.