WXIX-TV Wins Late News Demographics

Jun 19, 2019

May sweeps ratings, Part Two: The demographics are in for the May ratings' sweeps, and WXIX-TV is the big winner.

The Fox affiliate was the most-watched Cincinnati station for late news with viewers ages 25 to 54, the demographic which advertisers target. Channel 19's 10-11 p.m. news Monday-Friday drew a 2.1 Nielsen rating in adults 25-54, more than the 11 p.m. weekday newscasts on WLWT-TV (1.5); WCPO-TV and WKRC-TV (tied at 1.2), or Fox 19's 11 p.m. news (11.3).

In my May 29 post, WLWT-TV claimed it won both the household ratings, (which don't matter to advertisers), and the 25-54 demographic (even though the demos weren't released until late last week).

"Our 10 p.m. news is a powerhouse newscast that continues to grow in viewership. From breaking news, to exclusive stories, to Steve Horstmeyer's 'First Alert Forecast,' anyone who watches us can see the difference," says Steve Hyvonen, news director.

Debbie Bush, WXIX-TV vice president and general manager, says her station has been No. 1 in the prized demo for late news since December 2017. Channel 19 also was No. 1 with viewers 25-54 for the 6-7 a.m. news (2.1 rating), compared to WKRC-TV (1.6); WLWT-TV (1.5) without Lisa Cooney; and WCPO-TV (1.3). Channel 19's local news also won the demo 7-9 a.m. against the network morning shows.

"When the other stations go to New York for news at 7 a.m., Fox 19 Now stays local, giving Tri-state viewers coverage here at home. As we say, 'We're always local, always now,' " Bush says.

Channel 19's 4 p.m. news was tied at second in the money demo with Ellen on WLWT-TV (0.9), behind WKRC-TV's news (1.5), and ahead of WCPO-TV's Now Cincinnati news (0.5), Bush notes. Channel 19 launched the 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts last August.

What's the reason for Fox 19's success?

Morning news anchor Jessica Brown.
Credit Courtesy WXIX-TV

The station has stability built on long-time, well-known TV personalities such as meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer, and anchors Tricia Macke and Rob Williams. When Williams was promoted to prime-time, and morning anchor Kara Sewell left for Dallas, Channel 19 moved weekend morning anchors Jessica Brown and Dan Wells to host weekday mornings.

"This station was always that one that was changing (people), and we're not that anymore," Bush says. "We've got a really good team on the morning and evening shows. They really like each other, and I think viewers see that. We also have great reporters, and a good team backing them up."

Here's what the other stations say:

WLWT-TV:  Channel 5's 11 p.m. news was No. 1 Monday-Friday and Monday-Sunday in adults 24-54, women 25-54 and households. The station was No. 1 with 25-54 adults for newscasts Saturday (5, 6, 7 and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.) and Sunday (5, 7 and 9 a.m.).

"While we are very proud of our team's efforts and results during the month of May reflecting some historic household and demo wins, our team works hard each day to focus on the broader goal – and that is to grow our audience 12 months per year.  May is important - but in reality it is just another month. Our team works hard to deliver the best news, weather and entertainment programming 52-weeks per year," says Branden Frantz, WLWT-TV president and general manager.

"Moreover, today's news consumer is vastly different than a decade ago. How we distribute our content needs to meet their needs, or they will find someone who will. We believe the health and future of our brand and our product requires that we win on-air, but also continue to develop more robust digital audiences.  That said, WLWT has been the No. 1 broadcast digital news provider for 11 of the last 12 months (according to ComScore). In addition to delivering millions of pageviews each month, the extension of our brand, our people and our messages on social platforms has also shown a stronger connection with our audience as we are also No. 1 in total social engagements."

WCPO-TV: The ABC affiliate was tied for third (1.2) at 11 p.m. with WKRC-TV, behind WLWT-TV (1.5) and WXIX-TV (1.3).

"The 11 p.m. half-hour is one of the most competitive day parts," says Jeff Brogan, WCPO-TV vice president and general manager. "In May, the numbers show a slim margin between fourth and second place.  Over the last year we’ve seen stations move up and down in rank – it's that close. In the evening, we continue to see a growth in the audience as the evening progresses."

WKRC-TV: As I reported in my Rob Braun story Tuesday, Channel 12 had lost viewers ages 25 to 54 in the morning and late newscasts. The 11 p.m. newscast was down 25 percent in 25-54 from May 2018, falling from first place to a tie for third behind WLWT-TV and WXIX-TV. In the morning, WKRC-TV lost 24 percent in the demo from May last year, but remained second to WXIX-TV.

But the station remained No. 1 in the demo for weekday newscasts at 4, 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m., with audience gains 5-6:30 p.m.

Jon Lawhead, Sinclair Broadcast Group manager for WKRC-TV, WSTR-TV, Channel 12.2 and stations in Dayton, Lexington and Toledo, did not respond to my email requesting comments on May demos.