Local News

Hearst Television Study on the Unique and Powerful Selling Proposition of Local Television News

73% agree that watching Local Television News is an essential part of their lives

“Watching /Using this media is an essential part of my life.”
(Total % Agree)

Watching /Using this media is an essential part of my life.  (Total % Agree)

Over 60% of Adults 25-54 Rely on Local Television News for Product & Service Ideas

Younger Viewers Rely Even More Heavily

“I rely on local television news for product and service ideas that are relevant to me in my life.”

Strongly/Somewhat agree
Adults 25-34 64%
Adults 25-54 61%
Adults 35-64 59%
Adults 35+ 56%

Nearly Half of Women 25-54 Have Researched Advertisers Further After Seeing Their Ads on Local Television News

46% of Women 25-54 have done an Internet search for more information about the product or service

39% have looked for reviews of the product or service

33% have visited the product’s or service’s website or Facebook page

Ads in Local Television News Spur Viewers to Action

“How often do you investigate further or purchase a product or service advertised on/in this media?”
Often/Sometimes (%)

How often do you investigate further or purchase a product or service advertised on/in this media?

Source: The Unique and Powerful Selling Proposition of Local Television News, Hearst Television and GfK, June 2014


Pew Research State of the News Media 2014 Reports Substantial Growth for Local Television New Programs

Local News Viewership Recovers in Key Time Slots

Pew Research Center’s study highlights growth in every key local news time slot. Viewership increased in local morning news (5 to 7am EST or equivalent) 6.3% and early evening newscasts followed with a 3.3% increase from 2012 to 2013. The jump in audience was due primarily to significant increases in the November sweeps period, when morning news was up 12%, early evening news grew by 8%, and late night increased by 6%.

Local news programs in nontraditional early morning time slots are continuing to expand their audience. At 4:30am, viewership increased an average 13%, following an average increase of 21% for the 4am news programs. The number of stations airing news at 4:30am increased 159% in 2013 to 634 (in 207 markets), up from 245 in 2012 according to Nielsen data.

Midday newscasts also saw increases, averaging a 5% gain in audience. Morning news on the networks saw a 6.7% increase in average viewership compared with 2012.

At the same time, the cable news audience declined, with the combined median primetime viewership of CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC down 11%. 

Source: journalism.org, Pew Research’s State of the News Media 2014


The Demand for Local News is Growing

  • The audience for local news overall is on the rise and the demand has stations adding newscasts at new times and across additional platforms including digital sub-channels.
    • Total news airtime has increased +20% over the past 5 years
    • Stations are drawing larger share of the ‘news’ pie
    • Growth is in Late News and Early Morning
    • Studies have shown that in many markets, network broadcast news out-delivers network cable, and in local markets, local broadcast news out-delivers both network broadcast and cable.
      • In D.C., network broadcast beats network cable by 264%.  Local late news out-delivers network broadcast by +55%, and network cable by +500% in aggregate RA25-54. (TVB analysis of Nielsen ratings 2012 – Net cable stations (6p-12M).
  • News viewership increased 70% from 4:30am-5am in the past 3 years.
  • The demand has resulted in more newscasts at 4pm in place of syndication, and at 7pm as an alternative for working adults.
  • Stations such as the WCBS and WNBC are now offering 24-hour news on D-2 channels.
  • Despite the growth in options, studies continue to show that local broadcast news is the top choice for news and information both on air and online across key demographic groups.
  • Local stations are beginning to combine strength to serve larger audiences.  An example
    • Nexstar stations across four DMA’s in Arkansas are combining resources and creating an extensive news platform for the first daily statewide newscast.


Breaking News and Community Service

  • No other local media has the community ties of broadcast stations.  Knowledge Networks’ Media Comparisons Study recently released that adults consider local broadcast the media most involved in their community.
  • After the East Coast earthquake in Sept. 2011, local D. C. station websites soared 3X the number of visitors from the day before. (Reported by ABC, NBC, CBS affiliates.)
  • Local TV stations are the top choice for adults in breaking news.
  • Rentrak set-top-box data showed local TV viewership increased as much as 78% during the days surrounding the storm. (Rentrak Corp.12 most impacted markets)
  • Local broadcast consistently draws more viewers than local cable during national events as well.  President Obama’s budget speech to the nation on July 27, 2011 out-delivered local cable in the top 10 markets. (163 aggregate HHrtgs Live + SD vs. 57.8 for cable news nets)


TV Station Websites

  • Hyper-local websites continue to thrive as a resource for local communities
  • Competing stations are beginning to join resources for greater advertiser reach.


Social Media

  • TV stations are using social media not only to engage with viewers and drive them back to on-air programming, they are now hubs for community news and information.
    • KOMU-TV’s Facebook page in Columbia-Jefferson City, Missouri became a clearinghouse for updates about how the community could volunteer and help after a damaging tornado.
    • The NBC station in Hartford saw its Facebook page light up when they reported news during Hurricane Irene, which prompted the station to go on-air live earlier in the day.
  • Social media is not taking away from TV viewing, it’s working with it.  When Joe Paterno’s ouster from Penn State leaked on Twitter, ABC station group’s Rebecca Campbell said local stations earned some of their highest ratings.

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