July TV ratings: Wins for KTBC, KVUE and KXAN
Gary Dinges, Static
The folks over at KTBC have had quite a few "Good" no, make that "Great" days lately.
The station's morning newscasts, including "Good Day Austin," have seen significant spikes in viewership in recent months.
July was especially kind to Fox 7, with ratings wins at 4:30 and 9 a.m. At 5 and 6 a.m., KTBC tied KVUE and KXAN, respectively, for first place.
Local TV stations use Nielsen ratings data during July and three other "sweeps" months — February, May and November — to set advertising rates.
The more viewers they have, the more they can charge for commercials.
KVUE and KXAN were winners, as well.
ABC affiliate KVUE had the most-watched midday and 10 p.m. newscasts in Central Texas, while NBC affiliate KXAN is the frontrunner at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
But back to Fox 7 — clearly, they're doing something right.
The 6 a.m., 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. broadcasts all spiked a whopping 50 percent. And at 8 a.m., numbers jumped an eye-popping 80 percent.
The 9 a.m. hour of "Good Day Austin" even managed to beat "Today" and "Live With Kelly" during July.
"We have a great team in place, and with the addition of (new morning co-anchor) Greg Kerr, it's stronger than ever," news director Pam Vaught said. "Katherine Kisiel, Keri Bellacosa, Zack Shields and Greg bring a great energy to the mornings, keeping our viewers up to date on what happened overnight and what is coming up that day. We are getting an overwhelmingly positive response to the team."
The city's late afternoon and early evening newscasts have seen significant ratings shifts, as well.
A year ago, KVUE was No. 1 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., but things have changed since "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which preceded its early evening newscasts, disappeared from the airwaves. With Winfrey's show gone, KXAN has had twin wins at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. most days, and that trend continued in July.
"KXAN News is excited to win at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. again, and viewership is up in almost every time period, which is an encouraging sign that we are delivering more value to the viewers," said Eric Lassberg, president and general manager of KXAN.
"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" replaced "Oprah" at 4 p.m. and often grabs just half as many viewers as back-to-back episodes of "Jeopardy!" on KXAN. The news isn't all bad for KVUE, though. A significant number of people are flipping over from other channels to catch the station's 5 p.m. newscast, which attracts more than twice as many eyeballs as "Ellen."
"As in years past, we acknowledge the work of our competitors and congratulate them on their success," KVUE President and General Manager Patti Smith told me. "In this ratings period, it's important to note that the difference between the leading news shows and those in second place is hundredths of a rating point."
KXAN's Lassberg says the station is counting on the Olympics to give it an even bigger boost in the coming months, with thousands of Central Texans getting an opportunity to sample its newscasts.
Austin ranked 18th on NBC's list of the 20 U.S. cities with the highest Nielsen ratings for the 2012 opening ceremonies. And during the first three days of the Olympics, the city landed in 16th place.
We are, based on population, the nation's 47th largest TV market, so that's no small feat.
"Thousands of additional viewers will see our newscasts with their distinct in-depth and investigative storytelling," Lassberg said. "We hope it's an enjoyable experience and they tune us in on a regular basis thereafter."
CBS affiliate KEYE had a rare win at 10 p.m. during the May sweeps period, but KVUE has managed to retake the lead. KXAN also topped KEYE in that timeslot during July.
"We are very pleased to note that we've, once again, regained our dominance at 10 p.m. with our KVUE ‘Nightbeat' newscast," Smith said.
Summer is a challenging time of year for broadcasters. We're typically out and about doing things other than watching TV, and a significant number of shows are in reruns.
"We realize that viewing patterns in July are very different than during other times of the year due to school being out and vacations during the summer months," Smith said. "Consequently, July is always a difficult month for KVUE, due in large part to these changes in viewing patterns for what we believe is our core audience."
Other sweeps month tidbits:
¦ Looking at seven-day averages, KEYE and KXAN tie for first place in prime time. Weekdays only, top honors go to KEYE.
¦ Austin's most-watched soap opera is "The Young and the Restless," airing weekdays at 11 a.m. on KEYE.
¦ Afternoons, KXAN's "Dr. Phil" is the show to beat at 3 p.m.
¦ KVUE is Austin's No. 1 choice for late-night viewing, grabbing the No. 1 spot from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.
¦ "The Big Bang Theory," a new addition to the KTBC lineup this season, continues to impress, doubling the station's audience at 6 p.m. weekdays and boosting its 10 p.m. numbers by 75 percent year to year. The increases were even larger on Saturdays. A 5:30 p.m. airing helped Fox 7 quadruple its ratings in that time slot. And at 11:30 p.m., KTBC had 150 percent more viewers than in July 2011.
Contact Gary Dinges at email@example.com, 912-5987 or on Twitter at @gdinges.
July local news ratings