Get ready for dueling news promos on WIVB-TV and WGRZ-TV.
Channel 4 has won the July sweeps – considered the least important of the year by advertisers -- in household ratings in every time slot the two stations compete head-to-head, except in the early morning.
Its 10 p.m. newscast on sister station WNLO-TV grew 47 percent in household ratings from a year ago to a 5.0 rating, which is higher than all prime-time network programming gets at that hour and higher than most prime-time programming in the summer at any hour.
However, Channel 2 wins in the key 25-54 demographic rating from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.
Channel 4 wins in that demographic from 4:30 a.m. through 7 a.m. and at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
To summarize in the time periods the stations compete, Channel 4 wins in households from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. and in the key demographic at 4:30 a.m., 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Channel 2 wins in households at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. and in the key demographic from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.
WKBW-TV remains third in every time period. It did improve 27 percent in household ratings from a year ago at 6 p.m. but remains deep in third place there and actually saw a decline in the key 25-54 demographic rating in that time period.
The results come only two months after Channel 4 trumpeted its success in the age 25-54 demographic during the May sweeps in station promos.
Channel 4's promos are bound to shift the focus from demographics to overall news viewership.
Meanwhile, Channel 2 is likely to play the same demographic game in its promos for the early evening block that Channel 4 played in May.
Of course, viewing habits change in the summer when more Western New Yorkers are enjoying the outdoors.
The Channel 4 promo in May featured anchor teams Melanie Orlins and Jordan Williams, Dave Greber and Christy Kern, and Jacquie Walker and Don Postles loudly proclaiming the station is the No. 1 choice for news "in the morning, at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m." At the bottom, in the small print, viewers could see the station was referring to its top ranking in the age 25-54 demographic.
In household ratings in May, Channel 2 was actually No. 1 in the morning at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. in households by significant margins. Channel 2 also was No. 1 in households at 5 p.m.
Channel 4 was the choice of viewers ages 25-54 in all the time periods listed in the May promo. That is no longer the case in July from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.
Channel 4 was No. 1 in households at 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. in May. It also was the No. 1 choice at 4 p.m. -- because it is the only news choice then.
As I reported earlier, the change in viewership the age 25-54 demographic in May was a dramatic one because Channel 2 was the demographic winner in almost all those time periods a year earlier and has been the leader for some time.
The July results are somewhat closer to what has been considered normal in this market.
Nielsen changed the way it measures demographics here in January 2016.
Any time there is a change, it usually punishes the leader in a year or two. WKBW-TV's (Channel 7) demise as the area's news leader accelerated when meters entered the market in 2000.
Additionally, the way demographics have been measured since 2016 seems a little crazy.
A big part of the Nielsen equation is finding homes in Western New York and comparing them to so-called similar "donor homes" in several big city markets, including Boston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and New York City.