No ‘Action’ in sweeps stakes

In one sense, it’s sweeps business as usual in the Los Angeles local news biz for the February survey that kicked off earlier this week.

KABC on Thursday rolled out a penetrating two-night (11 p.m.) report on X-rated film production in the San Fer-nando Valley entitled “Porn in the Valley.” Also on Thursday, KNBC profiled a London paparazzo who earns his keep tailing Princess Di (5 p.m.) and peered breathlessly at the oxygen bar phenomenon (11 p.m.).

But if you take a closer look, something seems to be missing here. Specifically, KCBS and its “Action News” have opted not to buy any outside radio or print ads promoting its special sweeps reports for the current four-week audi-ence measure, a fact confirmed by an ad industry source.

Why? It has something to do with the reduced importance of February in the overall sweeps equation. KCBS news director Larry Perret noted that internally, his company estimates that 50% of most stations’ annual ad rates and revenue are determined by the May “book,” 30% by the November survey and just 20% by February.

So KCBS might just be saving its promotional money, and big sweeps guns, for the more serious stakes of May and November. Then again, maybe “Action News” just hasn’t managed to uncover any new oxygen bar scoops — like where all of that nasty carbon dioxide goes.

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