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Analyzing Ch.2 "history"; Bills' Brandon has "Draft Day" cameo

By Alan Pergament

Call it the Tale of Two Releases.

While I was gone for a week, I received two different takes on the news demographics during the recent February sweeps.

Not surprisingly, Channel 2 and Channel 4 had very different outlooks on what occurred in February in the so-called "money" age groups.

By that, I mean stations sell demographics to advertisers, not overall household ratings.

In some cases, what the stations didn't include in their takes was as interesting as what they did include.

Channel 2's release had the headline "Making History in February."

It noted that the first time in its 50-year history it was No.1 from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in "the highly-sought after" age 25-54 demographic, which arguably is the most important for local TV stations selling advertising.

What that really means is that Channel 2 added an 11 p.m. demographic victory to the other five newscasts that it had been winning.

Channel 2 added it also was No.1 in five-of-six news time periods in the age 18-49 demographic,  finishing second only at 5 a.m. 

Interestingly, the NBC affiliate didn’t mention that the highly-rated Sochi Olympics was carried by the network in February, which undoubtedly helped fuel local news viewership.

I'll try not to bore you with too much arithmetic, but will note that Channel 2 said it beat Channel 4 and Channel 7 combined in 25-54 viewership at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Since third-place Channel 7 gets so little audience, it really just means that Channel 2 has a decent lead over Channel 4 in those time periods.

The most telling statistic is Channel 2's huge 25-54 gains at 11 p.m. in the weeks in which it had only two nights total of an Olympic lead-in. The demographic win there is notable because Channel 4 still has a significant household rating advantage at 11 p.m.

Channel 4 noted it had percentage gains in all time periods from a year earlier, while Channel 2's "historic" claim didn’t mention that it had slight percentage losses in several news time slots from a year ago.

However, Channel 4's figures couldn't dispute Channel 2's claim that it made significant demographic gains at 11 p.m.

In addition, the demographics show a much tighter race at 10 p.m. when the two stations compete on different channels and Channel 4 has a healthy but narrowing lead in household ratings.

In both key demographics, the two stations are in a statistical tie at 10 p.m.

Among women ages 25-54, Channel 2's 10 p.m. newscast on WUTV actually has a higher share than Channel 4's 10 p.m. newscast on WNLO-TV.

And at 10:30 p.m., "Two and a Half Men" repeats on WUTV have a higher share in that female demo than the second half hour of Channel 4's 10 O’Clock News on WNLO.

As the unofficial arbiter of this Tale of Two Releases, I would say things look much brighter for Channel 2 than for Channel 4 even if an asterisk should apply everywhere but 11 p.m. because of the Sochi Games. But Channel 4 has made some demographic gains from a year ago.

The dueling releases certainly make the upcoming May sweeps something to look forward to for both stations to see how things shape up without the Olympics.

Here's another reason why Channel 7 is last in the local news ratings: On Wednesday night, I read reports from Channel 2 and Channel 4 on Twitter well before the 11 p.m. news that a Western New York native was among those injured in the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas. I turned on Eyewitness News at 11 p.m. and saw it lead the newscast with the shootings. However, initially there was no immediate mention of the local soldier, Maj. Patrick Miller. About four minutes into the newscast, anchor Joanna Pasceri said that the station learned a WNY native was injured. I suspect Channel 7 learned minutes into its newscasts by watching one of the rival stations that reported it much earlier.

Promos for the movie "Draft Day" starring Kevin Costner have begun airing on local TV stations to remind Buffalo Bills fans that the film could have been shot here and been about the Bills instead of the Cleveland Browns. Though the production company went to Cleveland for financial reasons, I am told that director Ivan Reitman gave Bills President and Chief Executive Officer Russ Brandon a cameo in the film set around the NFL Draft. We'll have to wait until next Friday when the film opens to see if Brandon's scene doesn’t land on the cutting room floor.

Former Canisius College and Fordham University basketball Coach Nick Macarchuk got an extensive mention from ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen during the New York Knicks romp over the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night. When the cameras caught the Nets’ Paul Pierce and another player laughing at the end of the team’s loss, Breen told a story that Van Gundy's brother, Stan, told him about a lesson he learned when he was an assistant under Macarchuk. When Stan saw some players laughing after a bad loss, Breen said Macarchuk told his assistant that players need to let go in some way after a game. Jeff Van Gundy said that was a great story, but added it is one thing to let things go after a game, quite another to be laughing on the bench during a game. That’s one of the reasons Jeff Van Gundy is one of my favorite analysts.


Olympics | Sports | Sports on TV | Television | TV news
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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

@StillTalkinTV |