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(Courtesy photo) KUTV's 10 p.m. newscast features Sterling Poulson, Shauna Lake, Mark Koelbel, Dave Fox and Matt Gephardt.
Scott D. Pierce: KUTV is No. 1; news audience is shrinking

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published May 22 2014 02:17 pm • 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,

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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.)

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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;

3. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS;

4. "Person of Interest," CBS;

5. "Castle," ABC;

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