Ranking services differ on local news station which was No. 1 in November | Columnists

Veteran anchors Jacquie Walker and Don Postles helped Channel 4 in the ratings. (Sharon Cantillon/File photo)


By Alan Pergame

With February sweeps due to start in 10 days, the story of the November sweeps can finally be told.

I was unable to give Nielsen ratings for local newscasts on the three network affiliates earlier because the owner of local CBS affiliate WIVB-TV (Channel 4) dropped the service from ratings last year in favor of a different service, Comscore.

Nielsen did not allow Channel 4 competitors WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) and WKBW-TV (Channel 7) to give out his ratings to prevent WIVB from using them for free.

But Nexstar recently re-signed with Nielsen, allowing November results to be released.

And I couldn’t be more confused.

This is because Comscore and Nielsen tell different November stories because they have a different methodology.

Curiously, Nielsen, which Channel 4 did not subscribe to until recently, paints a better picture of the station than Comscore, which it subscribed to instead.

One thing both services agree on is that EW Scripps station Channel 7 remains a deep third despite all the improvements to its news product.

According to Nielsen, Channel 4 wins at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. (when newscasts are broadcast on various stations) and 11 p.m. in household audiences and in the key local demographic, aged 25 to 54, in all time slots except 4 p.m.