Charlotte newscastsEstimated number of viewers reached by key weekday newscasts during the July sweeps and percentage change from last July as measured by Nielsen.
WASHBURN’S ANALYSIS: July sweeps are the least important of the year because networks are on reruns or summer programming and viewers are on vacation or otherwise taking advantage of the summer. But this year in Charlotte they are important for what they show at 10 p.m. in news viewing. We have the first full year of CW network programming on WCCB (Channel 18) and Fox programming on WJZY (Channel 46) after the affiliation swap last July and can examine news viewing exclusive of the change in lead-in shows. Overall, there is a 7% increase in the number of news viewers at 10 p.m. and again WAXN (Channel 64) far outpaces its rivals. But WCCB, which has lost about a third of its news audience after the affiliation switch, shows a 40% surge over last year, while the Fox-owned station, WJZY, lost half its news viewers over last year in the time slot, when it aired a newscast supplied by WBTV (Channel 3). In January, WJZY began producing its own 10 p.m. newscast, an experimental show that challenged the traditional news structure. So far it hasn’t found traction in the ratings. A key to judging its effectiveness will come after January 2015 when year-to-year results on the Fox newscast are available. In the advertiser-preferred age demographic of 25-54, WAXN dominates, followed by WCCB, then WJZY. At 10 p.m., WCCB doubles its audience from the CW prime-time lead-in for its newscast; WJZY loses two-thirds of its audience from the Fox prime-time. WAXN’s audience increases its audience by nearly three-fourths at 10 p.m.