We're No. 1 

Television news compete for viewers in growing market

Image is everything in the world of television news, and KTVB-Channel 7 wants to make sure its image says "We're No. 1."

The station released a statement last week touting its latest achievements in the Nielsen ratings in May. According to the release, the NBC affiliate led the Boise television market in all news time periods.

The station reported increases in viewership during its 10 p.m. broadcast but highlighted its 5 p.m. offering with a 23 percent increase in viewership compared to the same period last year.

"We're ecstatic," said Doug Armstrong, president and general manager of the KTVB News Group. "It's validation that the community likes what we're doing."

As to be expected, other channels don't see the ratings as such a dominant victory.

Bob Rosenthal, vice president and general manager of Journal Broadcast Group, which runs KIVI-Channel 6, said he takes issue with KTVB's referenced demographic, which includes all viewers ages 2 and older.

For him, the key demographic limits viewership to those ages 25 to 54, a group heavily courted by advertisers. "Numbers manipulation is a sticky business," he said.

Rosenthal focused on recent honors the station has received, including the award for Best Broadcast in 2006 from the Idaho Broadcasters Association and a Pacific Northwest Emmy for Best Broadcast.

Ken Ritchie, general sales manager at KIVI Channel 6, said the survey method Nielsen uses leaves a lot to be desired. The system depends on a sampling of viewers filling out a week long viewing diary and sending it back. Four different sample groups are used over a four-week period, and the average is used for a final number.

"One of the challenges that Nielsen faces these days is getting younger people to fill out the diaries," he said.

Bob Thomas, vice president and general manager of KBCI-Channel 2, said his station took some hits in the ratings this spring because of several changes to its broadcast schedule.The station is planning some additional changes, including the possibility of adding a morning news show.

KTRV-Fox 12 avoids the issue of Nielsen ratings altogether. Ricky Joseph, president and general manger of the station, said the system is an "old, antiquated survey system that has been around for 60-plus years."

Traci Liew, research director for KTVB, said there is a chance for error with any survey method, but added that the Nielsen Ratings fall in line with those the station gets from two phone-based sources.

"In all three studied, we are a very strong No. 1," Armstrong said.

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