SHOP WITH MIKE MCGUFF ON AMAZON! - Help support this blog by buying from my list.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

How are 3 Houston TV stations number 1 at 10pm?

Last week ended with announcements from three Houston stations that each was all tops in the 10pm news department for the February 2012 sweeps period. Those three stations were KPRC 2, KTRK 13 and KHOU 11 (the only English stations with 10pm newscasts). This development has left media watchers scratching their heads and some TV staffers scared (more on that below).

Luckily we have some seemingly informed commenters on this blog trying to analyze it all. Hey, better them than me, I don't see the total ratings like these people apparently do.

Anonymous Mar 3, 2012 05:52 AM
Ok so with this information and the stats shown from channel 13 and channel 2. Here is what's really going on.
Channel 13 is number 1 at 10 with Monday-Friday averages, not including Saturday and Sunday. Channel 2 won some special demographic ratings at 10pm which Is where their proclaimed "victory" comes from. Channel 11 is number one at 10pm with Saturday and Sunday averaged in, without Sat and Sun they are #2. Channel 13 still leads in every other time slot downright.

AnonymousMar 5, 2012 04:03 PM
Channel 13 still holds a commanding lead at 4:30, 5, 6 AM. Fox 26 leads at 7AM. Channel 11 is most watched during the midday hour. Channel 13 most watched by wide margins at 4,5,6 PM newscast. And most watched at 10 during Mondays-Fridays.

I talked with an expert in this matter who has no horse in this race. This person said the reality when it comes to the end of a sweeps month is the stations stop producing "shocking" stories to make you watch and start spinning the numbers in their favor. That's not to say they are massaging the numbers, but they do skew the data in their favor. What do you expect, they are going to downplay their ratings?

Part of the spinning involves quoting numbers that are Monday through Friday, others quote Monday through Sunday. Some stations look at certain demographics like 18+, while others look at total households watching. Then there is factoring out the Spanish networks, who clearly are doing quite well in the ratings. Then in a month like February with all the big awards shows and Super Bowl, some stations remove non-news programming that leaked into the 10 to 10:35pm time slot.

Now on to a bigger concern. Where the heck are all of the TV viewers for the 10pm shows? I can only go by the numbers provided to my blog from the TV stations, but these numbers are surely lower than a few years go.

For example, here is a definitive number we have from KHOU who declared itself the seven day winner at 10pm last month:

The February sweeps period showed KHOU 11 News at 10p to be number one in total viewers, seven days of the week, with a 5.7 household rating based on Nielsen Media Research.

I don't have access to a history of Nielsen numbers, but I do have the few articles I can find about past Houston ratings in the Chronicle's archives (this however was easier to locate through Google than the archives). In a May 23, 2003 article by former TV critic Mike McDaniel, we get the numbers from that sweeps month:

In the late-news race, that station [KTRK] posted a 10.8 rating, substantially ahead of the 9.4 rating scored by second-place KPRC (Channel 2).

OK, so we have a win in 2012 at 5.7 but a win in 2003 in the same time period at a 10.8 rating. As I've stated, I am no ratings expert by any means, but see what I'm saying? That's quite a drop in viewership for all 10pm newscasts (I'm assuming I am comparing the correct numbers here - please let me know if I am incorrect).

So I hope this makes some sense for those asking questions. Below are all of the releases stations sent me concerning the February ratings.

Help Mike McGuff win money for children's charity - with just one click VOTE HERE

- KHOU 11: Houston’s Most Watched 10PM Newscast
- KPRC 2 number 1 at 10pm for 2nd month
- KPRC #1 at 10pm
- Univision rates high in Houston and Dallas
- Fox ratings for KRIV, KDFW, KTBC - February 2012 COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here