This is what I’m thinking:
WKBW-TV has gone to an old practice rarely seen these days to try to attract viewers to its third-rated 11 p.m. weeknight newscast.
On Wednesday, the ABC affiliate started giving away the first of 17 iPad Air 2's during its 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts. It will give away one each weeknight through March 2, the day after the end of the February sweeps.
At 11:28 p.m. Friday, WKBW (Channel 7) gave that night's words of the day -- South Buffalo -- and announced the Thursday winner who was the seventh correct caller of the telephone number supplied by the station.
"I'm not a huge fan of giveaways," said Channel 7 General Manager Michael Nurse. "I don't know if it is a ratings driver. We feel it was a way to reinforce our brand (slogan) of 'Everywhere' without damaging our credibility."
During the first eight days of the sweeps, WIVB-TV (Channel 4) is first at 11 p.m. with an 8.2 rating. WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) is second with a 6.1 and WKBW-TV (Channel 7) is third with a 3.3.
The results were similar for the month of January with Channel 4 first with a 7.5 rating, Channel 2 second with a 5.8 and Channel 7 third with a 4.0.
Channel 7's biggest problem at 11 p.m. appears to be the lead-ins it receives from ABC's 10 p.m. programs. On some nights, they don't receive a 1 rating in Western New York.
"Truthfully, ABC is not even trying at 10 p.m.," said Nurse.
WUTV was expected to get a huge Super Bowl viewership across the border because the Fox feed of the game was allowed into Canada. But the results have been delayed because of a problem recording viewership, a WUTV spokesperson said. It stands to reason viewership across the border was high since CTV’s ratings for the game slipped for its carriage of the game.
Here is Reason No. 1001 to question Nielsen ratings: The New England-Atlanta Super Bowl had a record local rating, but it drew about 100,000 fewer viewers age 2 and over here compared to 2016. That confuses local researchers, too. It just illustrates the belief that Nielsen's margin of error is very high for a one-time event.