As cable television changed the landscape of TV viewing habits, so has the latest move to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Now, more than ever in the world of television, the audience is fractured.
Local broadcasters have had to change what it broadcasts to gather as large of a desired niche viewership it can to serve its advertisers. That means taking a look at demographics and programing for a specific audience at different parts of the day.
WISN-TV Ch. 12, is the strongest among adults 25 to 54, and 35 to 64 in the early evening. In the February sweeps, the ABC affiliate grew its audience among adults 37 percent from the year before. Between the hours of 5 to 7 p.m., WISN has a 3.7 rating in the 25 to 54 age demographic.
WITI-TV Fox 6 is next in line at 3.6, WDJT-TV CBS 58 pulls in a 2.7 and WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 had a 2.2, according to Nielsen.
"We are very humbled and grateful to the viewers of southeastern Wisconsin for making 12 News their number one choice for early evening viewing," Jan Wade, president and general manager of WISN, said in a release.
"We work very hard each day to bring viewers the best coverage possible. It’s quite rewarding to earn their trust, and it’s something that we do not take lightly."
With people in the 35 to 64 age group, WISN holds the top spot at 6 p.m. with a 5.8 rating. For the 5 p.m. news, the station has a 4.8 rating in that age bracket.
The reason why demographics are more important than the overall viewer numbers from Nielsen is the way in which advertisers buy commercial air time. Shows are measured against the peers in the market. For instance, when WDJT runs "Jeopardy" at 6 p.m., it draws a greater share of the marketplace. But game show audiences are different than news-watching ones. Advertisers make determinations based upon the types of programs that are available.
The inside baseball jargon is going after aggregate viewers vs. a show audience. Both have a part in measuring the audience, but the latter is what draws advertisers that wish to capture a certain demographic. There is a reason why more people watch "Ellen" on WISN than watch the local news at 4 p.m. on WTMJ. It comes down to programs, and the shows that have proven track records among key demographics.
As politics remains a key coverage area for local news operations, the local viewers in the 25 to 54 age group has grown for "UPFRONT With Mike Gousha" on Sunday mornings. At 9 to 9:30 a.m., the audience is up 25 percent year-to-year.
RETIREMENT: This week, WTMJ announced that long-time evening anchor Mike Jacobs will retire in May. The station will take a look back at Jacob’s career, with 37 years in the field and at the news desk, between now and then.
"Mike is part of the fabric of this great community," Janet Hundley, the news director at WTMJ, said in a release. "We want to take some time on the air to thank him and to give viewers a chance to look back at some of the stories Mike has covered … stories that have had a big impact on our lives."
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.