Local TV news programs got some rare good news: Higher viewership in 2013.
TV viewership for all three key time periods -- morning, early evening, and late evening -- witnessed higher
numbers in 2013, up 6%, 3%, and 0.1% respectively, according to Pew Research Center. Pew analyzed the four key sweep periods, February, May, July, and November.
Late-night TV newscasts
bring in the biggest number of viewers -- around 24 million; early newscasts are around 23 million; while morning news shows are in the 12.5 million viewer range. Pew says this represents ABC,
CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates.
In particular, local TV news viewership climbed later in the year -- in November -- up 12% for morning news shows, 8% higher for early evening, and a 6%
improvement in late night.
All this might be good news for big TV station groups that made large TV acquisitions. Major active buyers included Tribune Co., Gannett Co. and Sinclair
Pew says big news events in 2013 stirred some viewers to improved levels at TV news shows, including President Obama’s health care Web site troubles, the resignation
of Pope Benedict XVI and major weather events.
Overall, the trend for local TV news programming continues to drop -- since 2007, morning news is down 3%; early evening is off 12%; and
late-night news is down 17%. Pew notes that there was a small rise in viewership in 2011.
Pew says local TV remains the top news source -- with 71% watching local television news shows, 65%
going to broadcast networks, and 38% to cable news over the course of a month.