Share this article

print logo

Top 12 takeaways from the February sweeps

When it comes to sweeps periods, personnel at local stations can do more spinning than an ice dancer at the Winter Olympics.

The Pyeongchang Olympics dominated television for 18 days in February, which means this is a difficult sweeps period to judge and it may not have lasting impact.

Here are my top 12 takeaways after looking at all the spin:

Channel 4 did well:  If you compare ratings year to year, which is the traditional way to do it, WIVB-TV  has to feel like the sweeps winner. Its household ratings went up in every time slot but 11 p.m., when it frequently competed with NBC's Olympic coverage. It won at 5:30 and 6 p.m. in household ratings, where Channel 2 had won a year ago. Even better, it won in the age 25-54 demo at 5:30 p.m. and tied Channel 2 in that demo at 6 p.m. Channel 2 had big wins in that demo last year.  Of course, the way demographics are scored these days -- by comparing time periods in several bigger markets than Buffalo -- leaves few people in media confident in the results.

Channel 2 has the 18-49 demo lead to shout about: While the age 25-54 demo is the one that local stations covet, the age 18-49 demo is a bigger deal to the networks. WGRZ was No. 1 in that demo everywhere but 5 a.m. But even its margins of victory over Channel 4 were considerably lower than they were a year ago and you might have thought its network's coverage of the Olympics would have provided a boost.

Channel 7 slowly gaining at 6 p.m.: WKBW-TV remains deep in third place in news, but it did have some positive developments. Its 6 p.m. newscast anchored by Keith Radford and Ashley Rowe rose 32 percent to a 5.4 rating during the first sweeps meteorologist Andy Parker joined the newscast. That's still low compared to its rivals, which average double-figures. But it is a start and the Buffalo market is notoriously slow to change viewing habits. Its only newscast with a higher rating is at noon, which grew 6 percent from a year ago to 5.5.

Nalina will be missed by viewers: Channel 4 was a big household winner on the two newscasts – 5:30 p.m. on Channel 4 and 10 p.m. on WNLO -- that Nalina Shapiro was anchoring before she exited when the sweeps ended.

Orlins isn't a quick game-changer: The needle has barely moved at 6 a.m. since Melanie Orlins replaced Brittni Smallwood as co-anchor of Channel 4's morning program.

Ch. 2's lead only slightly shaved without Beard: You might have thought Channel 4 would have had a chance to gain in the morning after Channel 2 co-anchor John Beard left "Daybreak," but Channel 2 remains a strong No. 1 at 6 a.m. in households and in the demos now that Pete Gallivan is in Beard's seat.

CBS doesn’t help Channel 4 at 11 p.m.: The network pretty much waved the white flag in prime time during the Olympics, which meant Channel 4's 11 p.m. newscast got a weak lead-in and took a hit. It finished an unaccustomed No. 2 in household ratings to Channel 2 at that time, but there should be an asterisk. Channel 2 dropped several late newscasts from the ratings because they didn't start until 11:30 p.m. or beyond when some Olympic nights ended.

Channel 2's Super Bowl victory: Philadelphia's exciting win over New England had a cumulative total of 741,000 adults and was by far the top viewed program of the month and the year, as it is annually.

Channel 2's Olympics victory: The local NBC affiliate finished in the top 10 among the 56 national metered markets in prime time for the Olympics coverage and dominated its rivals in prime time.

Channel 2's Olympics loss: However, Channel 2 is blaming to some degree its household losses at 5:30 and 6 p.m. on Olympics coverage from 3 to 5 p.m., which didn’t provide as strong a lead-in as the talk shows hosted by Dr. Phil and Ellen that usually fill the two hours.

Channel 4's 4 p.m. victory: With Dave Greber now alongside Christy Kern, Ch. 4's newscast at 4 p.m. had a 39 percent gain from a year ago to a 4.1 rating. It also had a 40 percent boost in its 25-54 demo. Of course, it didn't hurt that "Ellen" was bounced off her regular 4 p.m. time slot by the Olympics.

Channel 4's 6:30 p.m. flop: The station's new newscast co-anchored by Kern and Greber on sister station WNLO-TV only averaged a 0.6 household rating. At least that was higher than "Access Hollywood," which averaged a 0.4 in the time slot a year ago.

There are no comments - be the first to comment