Nielsen research indicates that stations can use their Web sites to notably expand reach of their news content, helping drive cross-platform sales. The data, which looked at the ABC affiliates in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, shows that by using one metric, each received at least a 3% bump in the 25-to-54 demo in the May 2011 sweeps period.
Nielsen took the late-news performance on weekdays for the two stations, then added in reach via each station’s Web site over the full week.
For KOMO in Seattle, late-news reach was 22.9% among 25- to-54-year-olds, while Web site traffic (to komonews.com) added an additional 3%.
At KATU in Portland, the lift was more significant. The station’s late newscast had a 27.6% reach in the 25-to-54 demo. Traffic to KATU.com added an additional 4.6%.
Perhaps unexpectedly, in Portland the bump in the younger 18-to-34 demo (2.4%) was less than in the 25-to-54 segment. In Seattle, however, the increase in the younger demo (3.9%) was higher.
Also, Web sites may be able to help stations reach more males. In Seattle, late local news viewership skewed 71% female. Yet a majority 53% of komonews.com users were male.
Both the Seattle and Portland stations are owned by Fisher Communications, which joined Nielsen in the research. In its report, Nielsen said Fisher wanted a stronger grasp of its on-air and online audiences “in order to better leverage content and advertising inventory through a group metric.”
Late news was used on the TV side, since that offers the largest share of ad dollars. For years, stations have been trying to mount challenges to local newspaper sites, hoping the promotional power of their on-air reach and ability to offer more video would provide an advantage.
Nielsen, for its part, is looking to expand use of its cross-platform service intended to measure TV and online usage into local markets, where it is available in 25 of them.
Data shows a large portion of late news viewers in Seattle and Portland live in homes with incomes above $100,000. The bulk of news viewers also live in homes with a computer.
Usage of the Web site at both stations was highest toward the end of the workday, if not slightly after. In Seattle, it peaked between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., while in Portland between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
However, there were other spikes in both markets in prime time. Increasingly, people are said to be watching TV and using a second device simultaneously.