Friday, May 22, 2009

Austin May Sweeps Results


Still Rules

The competition is tight but KVUE TV (ABC) once again is walking away from May sweeps with an overall win. Taken as a whole, KVUE won all but one of the weekday newscasts. In most time slots KXAN TV (NBC) was right on their tails with KEYE TV (CBS) falling to third and sometimes fourth behind KTBC (Fox).

It is worth noting that this is the last rating period before all stations turn off their analog transmitters and broadcast only in digital TV. The DTV transition is June 12, 2009. This time, there will be no further delays. KEYE TV (CBS) was the only station broadcasting only in digital during these sweeps weeks. The competition was using both their transmitters. Also, the digital footprint may be different from that of the analog signal. So, it can be argued that KEYE was at somewhat of a disadvantage.

A win is a win, however, and Frank Volpicella, KVUE TV news director, is happy heading into the Memorial Day weekend. “I’m honored that once again the viewers in Central Texas chose KVUE News as their primary source of news and information in the Austin market,” Volpicella said. “I have a talented staff of dedicated journalists who work hard each day to serve our viewers. It’s because of their hard work … KVUE News the news to watch in the Austin market.”

Weekday morning ratings were all over the place. KVUE edged out Fox in the 5 a.m. hour when Austin’s eyes are barely open, followed closely by KXAN. The 6 a.m. hour has KXAN surging ahead, followed closely by KVUE and KTBC (Fox). You recall that Olga Campos joined Melissa Gale on KVUE’s Daybreak. KEYE with Michelle Valles and Fred Cantu was a distant fourth both hours.

KVUE won all evening weekday newscasts—5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. KXAN was in the #2 spot for all weekday evenings. KTBC was #3 at 10 p.m. with The Simpsons, pushing KEYE from #2 to #4. KEYE was also #4, behind KTBC News at 5 p.m. and TMZ on KTBC at 6 p.m.

The weekends were something of a hodge-podge. KVUE, KXAN, and KEYE were 1, 2, and 3 Saturday night at 10 p.m. Sunday, KXAN was #1, followed by KVUE and KEYE. It should be said that KTBC’s 9 p.m. newscast scored good numbers when compared to other station’s 10 p.m. ratings. It is impossible to say whether they would be that strong if they ran head to head in the same time slot.

Because KTBC TV is the only VHF (Very High Frequency) station in town on Channel 7, their footprint is bigger and their reach is farther than much of the competition. Only KXAN can compete because its news is rebroadcast on its full-power UHF (Ultra High Frequency) station, KXAM TV from a tower near Llano. That power advantage that KTBC has held since the 1950s also ends with the DTV transition.

The next sweeps month is July. I’ve always called it a “stupid book” because of Daylight Saving Time and fewer students at The University of Texas. The first chance to see Austin stations truly on a level playing field are the all-important November sweeps. Assuming no major changes between now and then, November, 2009 will be the new measure for which station rules the ratings in Central Texas.

© Jim McNabb, 2009


Anonymous said...

Jim ... you spend far, far too much time and effort talking about over-the-air signals. The vast, vast majority of folks are picking up the locals via cable.

NewsMcNabb said...

Editor's Note: In other posts I mention often that Austin is one of the most cabled and wired cities in the nation, extending the reach of UHF stations. These numbers are included in the Nielsens.
The over-the-air viewers are most important in the Hill Country. That is why KXAN created KXAM to reach out to them. KXAM is one of the main reasons for KXAN's success.
I have also talked about declining HUT (Households Using TV) levels. People may not be viewing TV. They may be viewing other media, such as the Internet.
So, these topics have been covered in earlier posts.
Yeah, there are about 70 of them. Nobody is expected to read them all word for word.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see if Time Warner monitors which channels you watch... I would imagine they would most certainly know on the digital receivers... and I'm sure somewhere in their network, they do.

With that being said, Time Warner would have a far better idea of who is watching what, from an audience of 10's of thousands... and if ALL TW viewers were using digital receivers... 100's of thousands.

Now that would be some solid data.

Either way, the bigger story is the one yet to break... will stations make any anchor changes before November? Who will disappear?

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder what KEYE is paying Ron and Judy for.

Anonymous said...

Where'd KEYE's Alexis Patterson disappear to? She vanished when the session ended. New job?

NewsMcNabb said...

I'll have your answer about Alexis in a post this week.