WFLA-Ch. 8, WTVT-Ch. 13, WTSP-Ch. 10 all find points to tout in November's sweeps ratings
Readers often wonder about the elusive art of understanding TV ratings.
Watch the ads aired by local stations, and you may see several claiming to be the highest rated or most watched, leading to a natural question: Can they all be right?
Look at the results for Tampa Bay area stations from November's "sweeps" ratings period, though, and its easy to see how everyone can find something to crow about.
Local stations sell advertising mostly on the numbers of viewers aged 25 to 54 who watch their programming, so I usually only report on those figures, focusing on the big broadcast network affiliates and their news programming. At 6 a.m. among those viewers, for example, Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 scored 1/100th of a ratings point higher than rival Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13.
For WFLA, it's an important mark, because their morning news suffered ratings declines when anchor Bill Ratliff left and Gayle Guyardo deaprted briefly and returned. WTVT has dominated most local news timeslots in ratings recently; they might argue the result is closer to a virtual tie. And because the 6 a.m. timeslot is an important showcase during the increasingly competitive morning newscasts slots, every station is fighting hard for every hundreths of a ratings point.
WTVT scored top ratings among 25 to 54 viewers at the 5 a.m. hour and from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., when affiliates for ABC, NBC and CBS are airing national morning news shows such as Today, Good Morning America and The Early Show. But if you just look at the 5 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. timeslot, local cable newschannel Bay News 9 is in first place.
The Fox station also scored top ratings at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
At 4 p.m., where Oprah Winfrey scored top ratings on WFLA before her show ended in May, WTVT's Judge Judy broadcasts are now the highest-rated show, followed by WFTS-Ch. 28's Ellen and then WFLA's replacement for Oprah, Dr. Oz. Another Winfrey protege, Dr. Phil, lands 5th in the timeslot, behind Maury Povich's Maury on WTTA-Ch. 38.
(Similarly, at the 5 p.m. hour, WTTA's broadcast of The People's Court is at second place, behind WTVT; who knew?)
In prime time, Fox was in first place from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., likely fueled by the success of Simon Cowell's The X Factor. At 11 p.m., CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 tops a very close race in which the three other local stations with newscasts are tied for second place, possibly bumped up by the network's success in prime time.
It's important to note that 100ths of a rating point is a pretty small number; usually, when reporting results I round to the closest tenth. But the figures were so close in this sweeps period, it's tough to round off (one ratings point equals 1 percent of all the households in the Tampa Bay area which have TV sets, now at 1.7-million households)
Below are the raw numbers for viewers aged 25 to 54, provided by WFLA and WTSP:
5 a.m. to 6 a.m. newscasts:
WTVT-Ch. 13 (Fox 13) 1.04
BN9 (Bay News 9) 1.0
WFLA-Ch. 8 (Newschannel 8) .9
WFTS-Ch. 28 (ABC Action News) .5
WTSP-Ch. 10 (10 News) .5
6 a.m. to 7 a.m. newscasts:
WFLA-Ch. 8 2.01
7 a.m. to 9 a.m.:
Good Day Tampa Bay (Fox 13) 1.9
Today show (NBC/WFLA) 1.7
Bay News 9 1.3
Good Morning America (ABC/WFTS) 1.2
Early Show (CBS/WTSP) 0.6
4 p.m. to 5 p.m.:
Judge Judy (Fox 13) 1.4
Ellen (ABC Action News) 1.2
Dr. Oz (Newschannel 8) 0.8
Maury (WTTA-Ch. 38) 0.7
Dr. Phil (10 News) 0.5
5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. newscasts:
WTVT 1.3 (rounded)
5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. newscasts:
6 p.m. newscasts:
Prime Time, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday, 7-11 p.m. Sunday:
WTVT (FOX - 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) 4.5
WTSP (CBS) 3.6
WFTS (ABC) 2.2
WFLA (NBC) 1.6
WTOG (CW 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) 1.1
11 p.m. newscasts: