What is happening in Boston is happening in many other places across the country.
Viewers have just quit watching TV news.
In Boston over the past 7 years, ratings show more than 140,000 people have tuned out TV news.
The Boston Herald writes that at New England Cable News, for example, just 1,221 viewers in the all-important 25 to 54-year-old demographic tuned in last month on average to the station’s noon news. NECN declined comment.
The numbers tell the story.
In the critical May sweeps, WCVB averaged 103,687 viewers at 11 p.m., WBZ had 93,221, WHDH 38,485 and Boston 25 News recorded 38,179 viewers. Newcomer “NBC Boston” had 36,264, ratings show.
In 2010, the 11 p.m. news on WCVB drew a whopping 146,000 total viewers, followed by WBZ’s 122,000, WHDH’s 107,000 and FOX 25 — now Boston 25 News — had 75,000 viewers.
NBC execs took a huge gamble in January when it debuted “NBC Boston” after landing its network affiliation from WHDH in a bruising battle.
It’s a gamble that hasn’t paid off. Nearly all of NBC Boston’s newscasts have come in last — or second to last — every month since its launch. June is looking like more of the same.
NBC also declined to comment.
Still, Boston viewers are finding the peacock network’s new Boston home as droves are tuning into the “Today” show and “NBC Nightly News.” In May, “Today” was No. 1 among 25- to 54-year-old viewers and “NBC Nightly News” was second, ratings show.
They’re just not watching the NBC Boston newscast.
There is a bit of bright news. Since “Fox 25” branded itself “Boston 25 News,” some of the station’s newscasts saw an uptick in viewers last month.
Boston 25 News director Mike Oliveira said: “While I think it’s too early to tell what the ultimate impact of the branding shift will be, we’re encouraged about the response and the ratings that have followed.”