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KABC wins local; KCBS improving

Daily demo changes ratings game

L.A. stations haven’t yet given up their sweeps fix, even though local people meters have technically made the tradition obsolete.

Thanks to local people meter data, stations in markets including L.A., New York and Boston now receive demographic information every day. That’s a stark change from the past (and how it’s still done in most local markets), where stations would have to wait for Nielsen to tabulate demos from household diaries taken during sweeps months.

Yet local stations this February still spent the month acting as they traditionally have during sweeps months — promoting special reports and perhaps airing an extra car chase or two.

Arnie Kleiner, general manager at market leader (sign-on to sign-off) KABC, said stations still pay attention to sweeps because the networks, syndicators and media do.

“I think as long as the network is programming sweeps, we’ll have to be talking about sweeps,” Kleiner said. “But we’d love to even it out over 12 months. It would make life easier in some ways, and in some ways more difficult.”

KCBS/KCAL news chief Nancy Bauer said she’s conscious of the fact that her newscasts are now being graded year-round. But because station groups still look at sweeps numbers at a whole, particularly among network-owned outlets, Bauer said she still has to pay attention to sweeps numbers.

“We have to have a sweep plan,” she said. “As good as you were in sweeps last year, you have to be that year-round now. And even better, now, in a sweeps period.”

KCBS saw healthy gains for its 11 p.m. news, but the big performance among English-language stations this February came from KABC, which gave KNBC another run for the money at 11 p.m. and, thanks to a resurgent ABC, was tops among local households in prime — up from fourth place last February.

“Weather was the market’s big story, and we do weather better than anyone else,” Kleiner said of KABC’s strong news numbers. “We own the only live doppler radar in town.”

In the Monday-Sunday late news race, KNBC narrowly took first among households, with a 5.8 rating and 13 share, followed by KABC (5.6/12), Univision-owned KMEX (5.0/11), KCBS (4.5/10), Fox-owned UPN outlet KCOP (1.1/2) and Telemundo outlet KVEA (1.0/2).

As usual, KMEX won the demo crown, both in adults 18-49 (3.3/13) and 25-54 (3.3/12). KNBC and KABC tied in adults 18-49 (2.2/8), while KNBC (2.8/10) was slightly ahead KABC (2.6/9) among adults 25-54. KCBS, meanwhile, saw a strong 41% bump in that key 25-54 demo, coming in not so far behind (2.2/8) — a good accomplishment for a station frequently seen as an also-ran in the market.

“Channel 2 has not been an aggressive news leader in the market,” Bauer said. “That was our No. 1 goal, to put ourselves on the map. We’re hitting our stride.”

At 10 p.m., from Monday through Sunday Fox’s KTTV won the household (3.3/6), 18-49 (1.8/5) and 25-54 (1.8/5) races, ahead of Tribune competitor KTLA (2.9/5 homes, 1.3/4 adults 18-49, 1.5/4 adults 25-54). On a Monday through Friday basis, Viacom indie KCAL was third in the hour, among homes (2.5/4), 18-49 (1.0/3) and 25-54 (1.1/3).

KABC also dominated households in prime access (where gamers “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” perennially dominate), and was also No. 1 with its newscasts at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

In the competitive breakfastcast competish, KTLA’s “Morning News” was tops with homes (3.4/12), followed by KABC’s “Good Morning America” (3.3/11). KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.,” KNBC’s “Today Show” and KMEX’s “Despierta America” tied for third (2.9/10). KCBS’ “Early Show,” on the other hand, continues to barely show up (0.8/3).

“KTLA Morning News” was also No. 1 among adults 25-54 (1.8/14), while “Good Day L.A.” and “Despierta America” scored wins in adults 18-49 (1.3/12).

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