Scott D. Pierce: KUTV is No. 1; news audience is shrinking

First Published      Last Updated May 23 2014 03:38 pm

The results of the local May sweeps ratings feel a lot like a repeat.

KUTV-Ch. 2 repeated as the late-news champion by a significant margin, along with winning most of the other news timeslots. And, overall, the audience for local TV news continues to shrink,

Here's how the Monday-Friday late-news numbers stacked up in the four-week May sweeps, which concluded on Wednesday:

1. KUTV-Ch. 2 •8.3 rating/18 share, 76,500 homes

2. KSL-Ch. 5 •5.7 rating/13 share, 52,500 homes

3. KSTU-Ch. 13 •4.5 rating/9 share, 41.500 homes

4. KTVX-Ch. 4 •3.1 rating/7 share, 28.600 homes

(A rating point represents 1 percent of the 921,240 TV-equipped homes that Nielsen estimates are in the Salt Lake television market; a share point represent 1 percent of the homes where someone is watching TV at a given time. The number of homes is an approximation.)

If you average in Saturdays and Sundays, it changes the numbers very slightly; the order of finish stays the same.

(These are household numbers only; demographics won't be in for several weeks.)

What's troublesome for all the local channels is the continued decline in viewers for local newscasts. In May 2013, the four Salt Lake stations totaled 27 ratings points for their 9 p.m. (KSTU) and 10 p.m. (KUTV, KSL and KTVX) shows; that number fell to 21.4 in May 2014, a decline of 20 percent.

Ch. 2 lost 26 percent; Ch. 5 lost 17 percent; Ch. 13 lost 16 percent. and Ch. 4 lost 9 percent.

There are plenty of explanations for that. Nielsen has changed its methodology; there's more competition from more cable and online competitors; the weather was pretty good locally, meaning fewer people were sitting in front of their TVs.

There was good news for KUTV. It was up between 5 and 6 a.m. and won throughout the morning, at midday and between 4-5 p.m.

As it did in February, KSL was the No. 1 local newscaster at both 5 and 6 p.m. — a bright spot for the station.

Here's a list of the top 20 individual telecasts locally during the May sweeps:

1. "The Big Bang Theory." CBS;

2. "NCIS," CBS;

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