NBC 29 News Trouncing Competition

Somebody sent me the Nielsen numbers for the local news market for February 2008. I’ve got to provide the caveat up front that while I have no reason doubt these numbers, I’m not in a position to verify them, nor do I even know how I’d go about getting confirmation for them. (Stations like to keep these numbers close the vest.)

Morning News 6:00am-7:00am (Monday-Friday average total audience)
NBC29 – 16,282 viewers
CBS19 – 562 viewers
ABC16 – 193 viewers
Noon News 12:00pm-12:30pm (Monday-Friday average total audience)
NBC29 – 8,219 viewers
CBS19 – 956 viewers
Early Evening News 5:00pm-6:00pm (Monday-Friday average total audience)
NBC29 – 18,297 viewers
CBS19 – 1,028 viewers
Early Evening News 6:00pm-6:30pm (Monday-Friday average total audience)
NBC29 – 30,301 viewers
CBS19 – 1,468 viewers
ABC16 – 1,094 viewers (7:00pm-7:30pm)

10pm News 10:00pm-10:30pm (Monday-Friday average total audience)
FOX27 – 1,787 viewers
CW19 – 958 viewers

Late News 11:00pm-11:35pm (Monday-Friday average total audience)
NBC29 – 11,759 viewers
CBS19 – 1,661 viewers
ABC16 – 849 viewers

CBS-19 and ABC-16 have made some advances over 2005, the last time I saw any numbers, but it’s nothing to write home about. But Gray Television knew they had a hard row to hoe when they got started, so these figures may be well within reasonable expectations for the young stations.

35 thoughts on “NBC 29 News Trouncing Competition”

  1. I haven’t seen the numbers for a few months, but I was in NBC’s newsroom when the numbers came in back in December, and those seem about right.

    Though admittedly, I’m in a position of slight bias… :p

  2. I don’t entirely believe these numbers, but I don’t question the fact that 29 is the most viewed station for news. The problem comes from how Nielsen goes about surveying the viewing audience. They send out a small number of “viewer diaries” that are meant to represent a larger viewing audience. Viewers are left to fill out these diaries, on their honor, sending them back to Nielsen at the end of a survey period (typically the months of February, May, July, and November). Nielsen tries to get a sample that they believe is proportionate to the viewing audience as a whole, but they can’t always get their target number of viewers to participate. So you end up getting a small group of viewers that’s representing everyone else that’s watching local TV. And if those people are loyal to 29, it can screw everything up. They may be watching one of the newsplex stations, but put down that they are watching 29 instead. Some people may think they’re watching 29, but are actually watching something else and just put down 29 anyway. It’s all very inaccurate and subject to flaws. Long story short, I believe 29 is winning, but I don’t think their competition’s audience is THAT far behind.

  3. I agree that the Nielsen system is seriously flawed. If those numbers are actually correct, Gray should just pack up and go home now. Wow, those are stark.

    I got picked as a Nielsen home. I was really insulted that I could be considered normal in anyway. I learned all the ins and outs of how the system works. It’s a complete and utter joke. It relies on people doing a whole lot of work and being honest. Come on, people just fill out these things without regard to what they really watched. Give me a break. Anyway, after I found out how much work it was I said no. And besides, normal, me, no way.

  4. Grammar police: “a hard ROW to hoe”. As in you’re weeding the garden & the earth hasn’t been rained on recently; a normal chore to do under challenging circumstances.

  5. Not to mention people who get their Nielson diaries and deliberately write in shows that they know most people don’t watch. When we were a Nielson family, we watched very little TV and I was pleased to send in a nearly blank diary, but I made a point to watch my favorite shows on PBS so they’d get a little ratings boost. I doubt NBC 29 viewers are that loyal though.

  6. A few years ago I was contacted to participate in the Nielson ratings. I politely explained that I don’t watch television, but the representative petitioned me strongly to participate. I offered to save them postage and asked her to check “none of the above” and be done with it, but I sensed that she didn’t believe that someone would eschew television.

  7. I liked being a Nielsen radio family — I enjoyed being able to put down WVPT or WMRA for the entire day, pretty much. Plus they give you that crisp dollar bill as a sign of their appreciation!

  8. Waldo: It’s “hard ROW to hoe”, not “hard ROAD to hoe”. Clearly, all roads would be hard to hoe, thus diminishing the value of the idiom.

  9. This comparison also does not include Gray’s Fox newscast at 10. I sometimes watch that before bed to get the following day’s weather, since I don’t stay up until 11. Fox news may do better as it doesn’t have local news competition at that hour.

  10. Wow. The Nielson system definitely seems flawed. Here’s my issue- I can hardly believe that anyone who watches NBC29 News once, especially in the early evenings, would ever tune in again. Ms. Gregory is horrid–she has trouble reading the teleprompter (which should not be an issue since she is obviously ‘seasoned’)constantly. I can’t focus on the (Shenandoah Valley/Virginia Tech focused) news they report because of the multiple snafus made. I gave them many chances. I switched to another network months ago. The news-writing for NBC29 is bad…so bad.

  11. I’m pretty sure the local Fox ten o’clock news has competition from the NBC29 ten o’clock news on CW19 (cable 12 in cville).

  12. With so few viewers watching any of the local channels, it sure isn’t much bang for the buck for their advertisers. Merchants would probably be better off to spend their money in newspaper advertisements.

  13. Always good to see the Daily Progress is still letting people use the Internet at the office. ;-)

  14. Me? Work for The Daily Progress? Not in this lifetime.

    I was thinking more along the lines of advertising in The Hook. Maybe Ch’Ville.

    But now that you mention it, the Daily Progress sure does produce some positive results when I sell automobiles. Just sold a vehicle to the second person who called after I placed an ad. I had to cancel the remainder of the 30 day ad I had bought so the phone wouldn’t keep ringing off the hook. It was $49 well spent.

  15. If you are selling something Craigslist is a pretty good place to start (not for everything I admit). It’s hard to beat free.

  16. What a croc! If you believe those numbers, I have some land in south flordia I would like to show you.

    Do your own polling – ask a hundred or so folks in the diferrent age groups whom they watch. I bet it closr than you think.

  17. um…what about the important shows? Who cares about local news, really? In fact…why did the person only send you the news ratings? Where are the ratings for Lost and American Idol? I have a sneaking suspicion that an NBC employee sent these to you in a vain hope to spin the fact that on the other 20 hours of shows in the day, NBC might be losing?

  18. How can people actually believe that NBC29 is worth a s***? All Shenandoah Valley all the time, and that Gregory woman should be a lounge rat, not a newscaster.

    WCAV is much better with the classy Duffy and some of the other folks there. Much better local news coverage without all the hype and BS.

  19. Gregory is a disaster and and most of Ch29’s news is for the valley. I have switched to CBS news and have been much happier.

  20. Dear “Truly” & Golfer…

    Can you honestly tell me that you see more local “Charlottesville” news stories on 19 than you see on 29?

    They both do practically the same stories every day… the only difference is that 29 follows those Charlottesville stories with some shenandoah valley stories and stories from the state capitol, while 19 switches to national stories, “caught on camera” video, and health stories… stuff you can see on CNN or MSNBC ten times a day.

    Go to their websites and look at the staffs for both stations… they both have essentially the same number of reporters, and those reporters can only get to so many stories on any given day… so do the math… it’s not rocket science.

    As for Gregory… well, I guess we do agree on some things.

  21. Augusta County is only behind Albemarle County in population for the local TV coverage market. That’s why it makes sense for 29 to have a bureau over in Staunton/Waynesboro.

    The newsplex doesn’t cover stories in Augusta County because it would eat into their sister station’s ratings coming out of Harrisonburg.

    16/19/27’s “Where Charlottesville News Ends First” slogan simply reflects corporate news ownership (Gray) trying to protect its own bottom line.

  22. DF-
    who cares why 29 covers augusta county and the newsplex doesn’t.

    Majority of folks in charlottesville don’t care about the fire drills going on in weyers cave – therefore we’re choosing a station that cover Charlottesville first and foremost.

  23. I guess we all have to decide how big our world is going to be. Mine extends beyond my own neighborhood (which for the record) is inside the Cville city limits.

    I’m not suggesting you watch one station or the other… just offering an observation that:

    A. 29 spends more time in their newscasts on Charlottesville news than anyone else, no matter what else they cover in addition to that…


    B. That there are a lot of people who could care less about what’s happening in Charlottesville who must choose between the local TV stations, and there’s a reason why Augusta County news gets the play that it does.

    I’m not looking to start a fight, just offer some perspective.

  24. your comments beside A. is in correct. take out your stopwatch. Not only does 29 have more commericals per newscast than the other stations – they have less charlottesville news as well.

  25. Okay – so roll that stopwatch at six tonight and let me know how it works out.

    See who goes to break first. :-)

  26. If everybody is so turned off by this Gregory person, why does 29 keep her? Does she know somebody at the top? Does she date somebody close to 29? Does she own 29? And before you jump down my throat, let it be known that I would rather watch my dog lick his butt than watch her.

  27. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the people in 29’s news department. I had the chance to work with them several times and always came away with a smile. Some of them are even from (gasp) Central Virginia.

    Sharon Gregory was very sweet in person and I don’t think she’s as bad on the air as people make her sound. She’s unique. And she actually has an on-air personality, unlike some of the others who are trying too hard to sound like mini Miami news robots. That applies to both stations.

  28. So…Poor reading skills now make one unique? There’s hope for us all! Ms. Gregory, you should be proud that you continuously mispronounce words and stutter during your newscasts! Huzzah! 

  29. when I first looked at the numbers they seemed really low then I remembered not only the size of the market but also the quality of the newscasts and it all made sense but I’m surprised by the low newsplex number. Its not like there is a real difference between the two its the exact news, how many times do we need to hear about the new cville cop cars. whenever there is breaking news you can see both stations right next to each other . Ive given up on the news

    i cant say im intrigued by drunk drivers reading the news or a 12 year old with rosy cheeks. there are way too many mistakes on both newscast

    The one good thing about the newsplex is that they did help to move things forward better websites and streaming video but we’re still in the if it bleed it leads and theres just not enough blood in this town

  30. I love that cbs19 has given us even more march madness games on their mycvilletv on comcast. It’s been a blast!

  31. i think the newsplex will definitely lose viewers now that the well-endowed morning girl is gone. The new girl is very pretty. But the way the other one’s sweaters stretched stopped my remote every time.

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