Every station in Houston can find something to celebrate in the reams of spreadsheets that document the four-week Nielsen sweeps period for May that ended Wednesday night. But KTRK (Channel 13), KHOU (Channel 11) and KXLN (Channel 45) had most of the numbers on their side.
In the flagship race for 10 p.m. newscast leadership, Channel 11 prevailed in households with a with a 6-4 Monday-through-Sunday rating to 5.7 for Channel 13 and 4.5 for Channel 2. In the weekday late news ratings for households, Channel 11’s lead over Channel 13 was 6.6 to 6.0, with Channel 2 at 4.5. At 9 p.m., KRIV (Channel 26) averaged 2.8 on weekdays to 0.5 for KIAH’s (Channel 39) NewsFix.
In the key advertising demo of adults 25-54, Channel 13 prevailed in the Monday-Sunday numbers, 2.9 to 2.5 for Channel 11 and 2.1 for Channel 2. On weekdays, Channel 45 beat them all with a 4.0 rating to 3.1 for 13, 2.7 for 11 and 2.1 for Channel 2. At 9 p.m., Channel 26 averaged 1.4 to 0.3 for Channel 39.
Among adults 18-49, Channel 45 also prevailed with a 3.5 weekday rating to 2.2 for Channel 11, 2.1 for Channel 13 and 1.6 for Channel 2. Channels 11 and 13 tied at 2.0 in the weeklong 18-49 numbers to 1.6 for Channel 2; I do not have weeklong 18-49 figures for Channel 45.
Channel 13 led the full-day, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. , numbers in households with a 3.0 rating to 2.6 for Channel 11, 2.2 for Channel 2, 1.6 for Channel 26, 1.0 for Channel 39 and 0.6 for KTXH (Channel 20).
I know that’s a lot of numbers, so let’s turn to Henry Florsheim, Channel 13’s general manager, for some spin on behalf of his troops.
“Our newscast are all very strong, and we’re comfortable and obviously pleased (with the results),” he said. “It’s a tribute to the strength of our 10 p.m. newscast and the news team that in spite of not having the strongest prime, the newscast remains No. 1 in the demos. It’s a statement on how Houston respects and enjoys that newscast, and we appreciate that.
“There was news happening (in May), and we believe when viewers are aware there is a lot of news going on, that helps our ratings.”
Eyes rested? Let’s plunge ahead. One slightly new development in May is that Channel 11 was able to tie Channel 13 in households at 6 p.m., each with a 4.9 weekday rating to 3.5 for Channel 2. Channel 13 led in adults 25-54 with a 1.9 rating, and Channel 2 was second at 1.5 to 1.3 for Channel 11. 13 led in persons 18-49 with a 1.4 rating to 1.0 for 11 and 0.8 for Channel 2.
At 5 p.m., Channel 13 led in households at 4.8 to 3.1 for Channel 11 and Channel 45, 2.4 for Channel 2, 1.7 for Channel 26 and 0.9 for Channel 39. Channel 2 was second to 13 among adults 25-54 in that time slot, and 11 and 2 tied for second among the English-language stations for adults 18-49. Channel 45, however, led all the English-language stations at 5 with a 2.1 rating for adults 25-54 and 1.9 for adults 18-49.
In the other daytime household news ratings, Channel 13 prevailed at midday and at 4 p.m. ABC’s “World News Tonight” led at 5:30 p.m. with a 4.9 rating to 3.5 for the “NBC Nightly News” and 3.1for the “CBS Evening News.”
Time for another numbers break. At Channel 11, station president and general manager Susan McEldoon said the station is doing a better job attracting younger viewers, citing the 18-49 numbers at 10 p.m. and in the morning, which we will get to in a moment.
“We had solid year-to-year growth in the morning and at 10 o’clock, and we are attracting younger viewers, which typically CBS affiliates have not done, while retaining our loyal adult 35-64 viewers,” she said.
McEldoon, obviously, had the biggest personnel move with the addition of Bob Allen as sports director and the second sweeps period for David Paul as chief meteorologist. She said the impact of both hires showed in the second quarter-hour of the 10 p.m. newscast.
“The critical thing is that we did not lose in that (second) quarter-hour,” she said. “We have typically increased our lead-in (from CBS’ 9 p.m. show) but lose it in the second quarter-hour. That did not happen (in May). We have made some changes in the newscast, and viewers have responded.”
Let’s wrap up with one last numbers run from the morning newscasts, which are an increasingly important source of revenue for local stations because they have so much time to fill with local advertisements.
At 4:30 a.m. (I don’ t know about you, but I find it astonishing that 4:30 a.m. newscasts are now as important, if not more so, than 5 p.m. newscasts), Channel 13 led with a 2.1 household number to 1.2 for 11 and 0.9 for Channel 2. 11 and 2 tied for second among adults 25-54 and 18-49.
Channel 13, in fact, leads in households throughout the time slots where all the major network affiliates are doing morning news, so the race in just about every case is for second place.
At 5 a.m., Channel 2 was the runner-up with a 1.9 rating to Channel 13’s 3.4 in households. Channel 2 actually leads in that time slot among 18-49 adults with a 0.8 rating to 0.6 for 11 and 13.
At 6 a.m., 11 and 13 are tied for second with 3.0 household ratings to 4.7 for Channel 13. Channel 11 is second among adults 25-54 in that time slot and closing, and 11 leads among adults 18-49 with a 1.5 rating to 1.2 for Channel 26 and 1.1 for Channel 2. 13 actually lags the field in 18-49 at 0.9.
Channel 26’s bright spot in this book is at 7 a.m., where its newscast has a 3.7 household rating, second in the time slot only to ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Channel 13 and ahead of “Today” on NBC and “CBS News This Morning” on CBS.
Channel 26 also touts its year-to-year growth in morning news: up 80 percent at 5 a.m. over May 2012, up 31 percent from a year ago at 6 a.m. and up 18 percent at 7 a.m. Channel 11’s random touts includes growth among men viewers in morning news and at 10 p.m. and what it describes as a “dramatic” increase in its adult 25-54 number at 10 p.m. from a year ago.
Last one through the spin cycle is Deborah Collura, Channel 2’s news director and VP of news for all the Post-Newsweek stations, who cited growth in morning news demos and in outperforming the station’s lead-in from NBC at 10 p.m.
“We’re happy with the progress we’re making,” she said. “In the morning demos, we were up some places 50 percent (from May 2012) and 67 percent from 5 a.m. And we’re still growing our numbers at 10 p.m. and grew out of our prime lead-in by 20 percent.”
Collura agreed with her colleagues that in terms of emphasis, morning news and the 5/6 p.m. newscasts “are about equal right now. We stay laser-focused on the morning. It’s the one area we can continue to grow, so it’s not out of the question that it becomes a higher priority in the future.”
So those are the numbers. Now get ready for the “We’re No 1!!!!” promos.