Where Did Nearly 100,000 Viewers Go?
In 1996, I left a great job at KWWL because the entrepreneurial bug bit me. I have saved the Nielsen ratings books from 1996 when we started the agency and was looking through them the other day. I had remembered some of the ratings and shares, but I had forgotten the high number of real people.
In 1996 (M-F average), there were 92,000 people watching KWWL for the 6 p.m. newscast. KCRG had 69,000, and KGAN had 38,000. That is nearly 200,000 people watching news at 6 p.m. in Eastern Iowa. Some 20 years later (2020 May Nielsen), KWWL has 50,100, KCRG 52,400 and KGAN 11,300.
We know there has been an erosion in numbers of people watching broadcast television, but where did the nearly 100,000 people go? I’m guessing all over. They are on the internet live streaming, shopping on Amazon, interacting on social media (predominately Facebook), watching 200 different cable or satellite TV channels, and they are going to their children’s soccer games. (There are many more athletic and school activities that are running into the evening than in 1996.)
So is broadcast TV still a good media buy? Absolutely. Where else can you consistently reach a concentration of 114,000 people in a market with a single message and at the same time? You can build 100,000 views for a YouTube video, yet many of those views will be from outside the market and those viewers will take a lot of time and effort to build in a midsize market area.
Where did nearly 100,000 viewers go? All over. With more choices for our attention, all media is diluted. Yet TV is still a powerful medium with a large concentrated audience.
Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.