There’s no debating it this time.
Whether you measure demographics (be it 25-54 or 18-49), shares or households, KETV-7 is the clear-cut winner in the Omaha TV news race according to the latest Nielsen Media Research ratings.
The ABC affiliate is the most-watched newscast at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
WOWT-6 is a close second in many of those timeslots, while KMTV-3 saw its viewership slip – much like the performance of its parent network, CBS.
KPTM-42 can also consider itself a winner in the ratings period, which was conducted between Jan. 31 and Feb. 27. The FOX affiliate garnered more than 21,000 viewers for its 9 p.m. newscast – roughly 3,000 more than third-place KMTV drew for its 10 p.m. newscast.
Nielsen’s ratings reflect the viewing habits of more than 407,000 TV households in the Omaha metropolitan area, which includes Douglas, Washington, Cass and Sarpy Counties in Nebraska and Pottawattamie County in Iowa. Nielsen surveys viewers in by asking them to write down the station they watched for news in a diary that is returned by mail.
The standard ratings months include February, May, July, and November – with May considered the most important.
KETV’s rise to the top completes a climb that saw it nearly as dominant in the November 2007 ratings period when it was the clear leader at 5 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. and a close second to WOWT at 6 a.m.
At 10 p.m., KETV attracts an audience of more than 59,000 viewers, compared to 54,000 for WOWT and 18,000 for KMTV. At 5 p.m., KETV garners approximately 4,000 viewers more than WOWT and 28,000 more than KMTV. At 6 p.m., the margin between KETV and WOWT is roughly the same, with KMTV lagging about 37,000 viewers behind the front-runner.
KMTV’s troubles at 10 o’clock can be traced to a serious slump for CBS in prime time. The network began the fall season with a 10 percent decline in its total audience from a year ago and a 15 percent drop among viewers ages 18-to 49-year-old. Those numbers led to CBS’ decision to recently cut more than 160 positions at stations it owns and operates around the country (which does not include KMTV).
In the battle of local sports shows broadcast Sunday night at 10:35 p.m., WOWT’s long-running “Sunday Sports Extra” and KMTV’s “Sports Sound Off” are in a virtual dead heat in terms of overall viewers. Each draws about 16,000 viewers.
In the early morning news race, WOWT remains on the heels of KETV – particularly in the 6 a.m. time slot. KETV’s lead is only about 5,000 in overall viewership and close to 4,000 in the key 25-54 demographic.
KMTV’s switch in talent in the mornings – from veteran Mary Williams to Kerri Stowell – hasn’t resulted in better ratings. The station lags far about 18,000 viewers behind KETV at 6 a.m. and 13,000 behind WOWT.
It is a different story for KMTV’s midday news. With a strong lead-in from “The Young and the Restless” and Williams anchoring, KMTV’s noon newscast draws a hefty 21,000-plus viewers. That audience is larger than any of its other newscasts, save for Sunday nights at 10.
KPTM’s 4 p.m. newscast – which only debuted last fall – has been slow to attract viewers, though it is registering in the ratings. WOWT, the only other station to broadcast a newscast in that time slot, is No. 1 in sheer audience size, followed by “Oprah” on KMTV and “Judge Judy.” In demos, “Judge Judy” on KETV is tops, with “Oprah” and WOWT’s 4 p.m. newscast in a virtual tie for second.
Nielsen’s all-important ratings period for May begins April 24 and ends May 21.
--By Sean Weide
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
There’s no debating it this time.