WJAR newcasts strong; WPRI gains slight edge in 11 p.m. slot

WPRI-TV CBS12 beat primary competitor WJAR-TV NBC 10 for the second year, in the race for the 11 p.m. local newscast in the southern New England market.

At Channel 12, however, News Director Joe Abouzeid flatly claimed victory. “We are pleased to win at 11 p.m.,” he told Providence Business News. “It shows that all the hard work of our team has paid off.”

A news release from Channel 12 said its 11 p.m. newscast is “the most watched late news in southeastern New England” and enjoys “the largest growth of all the late local newscasts.” The 11 p.m. broadcast also came out first in November sweeps a year ago.

In the recent November sweeps, the national rating agency asked sample households nationwide to keep a paper record of what programs they watched on television from Oct. 28 through Nov. 24. Nielsen does not release the results publicly, but relies on individual stations to spread the word. Local stations are part of the Providence-New Bedford market.

According to figures supplied by Lanni, the 6 p.m. weekday newscast on Channel 10 in November averaged 62,000 viewers versus 40,000 on Channel 12; the 11 p.m. weeknight newscast saw an average of 38,440 people watching Channel 10 versus 39,680 on Channel 12.

Although Channel 10 dominated the 11 p.m. weeknight newscast for many years, Lanni said he is not at all discouraged by the latest rankings.

“Based on how primetime is performing [on NBC], we’re very happy,” he said, referring to the network’s lackluster performance during evening viewing hours compared to ABC and CBS. Lanni celebrated that viewers consciously switched channels to watch the WJAR-TV 11 p.m. news.

At Channel 12, Abouzeid said the results indicate that viewers are responding positively to investigations undertaken this year by reporter Tim White and his team. “Tim White played a big part, but it is not just him,” Abouzeid said. “It’s the entire investigative team. [Reporter] Susan Hogan has done some good work, too.”

The investigations included information on how viewers can protect themselves against bed bugs, a warning about chimney-cleaning scams and exposed problems with faulty fire hydrants.

Other results for the November sweeps include:

NBC 10 News Sunrise from 5 a.m. through 6 a.m., with anchor Frank Coletta and meteorologist Gary Ley, dominates morning viewing, with more than 47,000 households tuned in daily;

NBC 10 News at 6, anchored by Patrice Wood and Gene Valicenti, reached more households than the competition combined;

NBC 10 News at 7 p.m., with Dan Jaehnig and Alison Bologna, a mix of national and local news which began in September, statistically tied WPRI’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. “We are very happy with the performance of our Monday-Saturday 7 p.m. news,” said Lisa Churchville, general manager. “Our viewers lead very busy lives and had told us that they couldn’t always make it home in time to see our early news.”

Eyewitness News This Morning on Channel 12 weekdays was the only broadcast showing growth in the 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. time frame, growing 19 percent from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 46 percent from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

At WLNE-TV, ABC 6, Steve Doerr, vice president and general manager, reported that the station no longer subscribes to Nielsen’s, but now works with another measuring company, Rentrak Station View Essentials.

Doerr said Rentrak is the company that compiles weekly box office receipts and data on DVD sales and rentals on a national basis and, about one year ago, Rentrak decided to move into television measurements, a field dominated by Nielsen’s.

According to Doerr, where Nielsen’s use about 400 meters to estimate viewership in Providence, Rentrak uses 5,000.

Rentrak reported the same outcome of the three-way race in television news ratings for the Providence-New Bedford market, with WJAR-TV NBC 10 in the lead, following by WPRI-TV CBS 12 and WLNE-TV ABC 6, in that order.

However, he stressed, “the data we look at shows a much closer race between all three” than Nielsen’s numbers indicate for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. local news shows. “The outcome is the same, but it is a very narrow race, according to the data we look at,” Doerr said.

Owned by Global Broadcasting of Southern New England, based in Delaware, Channel 6 currently is in receivership and the owners are seeking a buyer to take it over.

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