Scott D. Pierce: KUTV remains No. 1 in late-news ratings

By Scott D. Pierce

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: March 4, 2014 08:55AM
Updated: March 3, 2014 09:30AM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune KSL News anchors, Dave McCann (left) and Nadine Wimmer (right) on the set of the 6:00 news at the KSL studio in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, February 27, 2013.

I was almost wrong. Really close to being wrong.

About a month ago, yours truly made this prediction for the now-completed February sweeps: “The Olympic ratings will boost KSL’s late newscasts … perhaps enough to move Channel 5 back into first place.”

Well, the Games did boost KSL’s ratings. But not enough to move Channel 5 into first place. (Good thing I used the word “perhaps.” Phew!)

It’s worth looking at the February numbers as two separate things — the ratings with the Games and the ratings without the Games. Because the Olympics are such a disruptive force on regular viewing patterns.

Here’s a look at the Monday-Friday late-news numbers:

With the Olympics

1. KUTV-Channel 2: 8.5 rating/18 share

2. KSL-Channel 5: 7.3 rating/17 share

3. KSTU-Channel 13: 4.4 rating/9 share

4. KTVX-Channel 4: 2.2 rating/5 share

Without the Olympics

1. KUTV-Channel 2: 9.4 rating/22 share

2. KSL-Channel 5: 6.0 rating/14 share

3. KSTU-Channel 13: 5.4 rating/11 share

4. KTVX-Channel 4: 2.2 rating/5 share

(A rating point represents 9,212 homes — 1 percent of the TV-equipped homes Nielsen estimates are in the Salt Lake market. A share point represents 1 percent of the homes where someone is watching TV at a given time.)

Most of KSL’s late newscasts during the Olympics were delayed until 11 p.m., when fewer are watching TV, so those numbers are even harder to read.

Overall local late-news ratings continued to decline. Channels 2, 4, 5 and 13 combined for 27.1 rating points in February 2013; that total fell 15 percent to a combined 23 rating (using the without-the-Olympics numbers) in February 2014.

Still using non-Olympics numbers, KSL (up 3 percent) was the only station to show a year-to-year increase. KSTU was down 5 percent; KUTV was down 23 percent; and KTVX was down 33 percent.

These numbers are households only; demographic information won’t be available for about a month. And given that, nationally, the average age of viewers watching the Games in prime time was 55, those could be very interesting numbers.

Elsewhere, Channel 2 was No. 1 in early-morning, midday, 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. news.

Channel 5 had a strong showing at 5 and 6 p.m., winning those time slots both with and without help from NBC’s Sochi Games coverage. And that is, perhaps, the best news KSL has gotten in regards to local news ratings in several years.

(Note: KSL and KUTV both shared ratings information for this column. The Salt Lake Tribune maintains a news-gathering partnership with KUTV.)

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.