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COMMENTARY

WGRZ dominates the July sweeps as WIVB takes a Direct hit

The July sweeps ratings period is considered the least important of the four sweeps held annually, but that likely won’t reduce the celebration over at WGRZ-TV.

The NBC affiliate won the local news competition over second-place WIVB-TV in the most important time slots by margins higher than they have been recently.

WGRZ-TV won at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. with the margin in household rating significantly higher at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The demographics, which are important to advertisers, haven’t arrived yet.

WIVB’s owner, Nexstar, doesn’t subscribe to Nielsen, relying on a service called Comscore.

Of course, there should be an asterisk attached this time to the local Nielsen ratings. WIVB has been off DirecTV since July 3 – the day before the sweeps began – because of a national dispute between its owner, Nexstar, and AT&T, DirecTV’s owner.

According to a local researcher, 15 percent of households in Western New York subscribe to DirecTV, with WIVB’s absence from the satellite carrier hurting WIVB this July.

However, even if WIVB’s ratings were bumped by 15 percent, WGRZ would have a significant advantage at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

WGRZ won over WIVB at 6 p.m., 9.3- 6.5. It won at 11 p.m., 6.6-4.4.

WKBW-TV remained deep in third place in all time periods the three stations competed.

In other news outside of local news:

The syndicated program "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," which is in reruns during the summer and was moved up an hour to 3 p.m., finished No. 1 in its time slot with only a 1.8 rating on WGRZ.

“Most Buffalo,”  the new news program with a light touch anchored by Kate Welshofer that took over the 4 p.m. time slot of “Ellen,” averaged a 3.3 rating, only one-tenth of a point lower than WIVB’s 4 p.m. newscast.

“The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” easily won the 6:30 p.m. time slot locally with an 8.6 average household rating on WGRZ-TV. ABC’s “World New Tonight with David Muir,” was second with a 5.0 average rating on WKBW-TV. “The CBS Evening News,” which saw Norah O’Donnell take over in mid-sweep, was No. 3 with a 4.8.

WIVB’s 6:30 p.m. local newscast barely registered with a 0.4 rating on sister station WNLO opposite the national newscasts.

WIVB’s 10 p.m. newscast on WNLO won as usual at 10 p.m. over WGRZ-TV’s newscast on WUTV, 3.6-2.6.

To illustrate the decline of broadcast television in the summer loaded with reality shows, the local affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and the CW averaged only 9.1 points collectively. WGRZ, the NBC affiliate, was No. 1 in prime time with an average rating of 3.1.

In other words, less than 10 percent of Western New York households were watching prime time broadcast television on the same day the programs air.

Clearly, Western New Yorkers head to the streaming services, cable and On Demand in the summer.

email: apergament@buffnews.com

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