By the Numbers

Just a quick post about TV news. When you spend a bunch of years doing something, you retain some mild interest, even after you’ve moved on.

Here now the news!

Nielsen, the ratings people, have released their annual market rankings. Of the 210 markets ranked, New York remains the largest, Glendive, Montana the smallest.

Memphis, which was in the top 30 when I worked at the big 3 on the river, is now the 48th largest market, with 694,000 TV homes.  Some cities grow, others contract. If there’s any good news in the numbers for Memphis, its that it has moved up from being number 50 last year. Market size plays a role in how much stations can charge for commercial time. TV spots cost more in bigger markets. Doesn’t mean it’s better TV, just makes more money. Of course, it usually means the news people are paid a little better too. I’ve been out of local news long enough to not have a clue as to what people earn in this town. But there are still a boatload of people in Memphis TV who were working here when I got here in 1990 (so maybe somebody’s making some money here).

And no, consolidation won’t change Memphis’ market ranking, unless they turn the job situation around immediately and a bunch of folks move into town.

One CNN Center

Slip Slidin' Away?

Speaking of TV news, I’m starting to think that I got out of CNN when the getting was good. The August rating numbers for the network are out, and it seems they’re the lowest in ten years. That’s a little scary. Again, while Fox News is the clear leader in cable news ratings, it’s probably not a situation of people changing the channel from one to the other. CNN firmly staked out the middle ground for so long, I think it lost out on viewers attracted by point-of-view television. Fox and MSNBC, and even Headline News (sorry, HLN) have developed prime time line ups that have some kind of perspective. It’s interesting that Campbell Brown left the 8pm slot because she had no audience and Rick Sanchez has lost 41% of the few viewers she had. Maybe CNN should switch to NCIS reruns or try to grab the “Real Housewives” franchises from Bravo.

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