March 1, 2007

WFAA-TV/DT Wins Noon, 5, 6 And 10 p.m. Newscasts - Households and Demographics - In February Dallas-Fort Worth Rating Period

Station Makes Huge Strides In Morning News Ratings With Big Demographic Wins Among Female Viewers

DALLAS -- WFAA claimed significant household and demographic victories in major local news categories including mornings and the 10 p.m. newscast - during the February sweeps period in the D-FW market.

"Winning the 10 p.m. newscast and being number one in female demos in the mornings though we're pleased, this is not a surprise and validates a long standing pattern of viewership for WFAA in the market," said the station's president and general manager, Kathy Clements.

According to Nielsen Local People Meters (LPM) January through December 2006, WFAA's News 8 Update at 10 p.m. was the market's number one late local newscast with a 7.54 household rating. The station's February 2007 victory its first during a major sweeps period at 10 p.m. since November 2001 "speaks directly to the momentum we have had for some time now in and out of sweeps," said Clements. "We have always worked to serve north Texas communities in a reliable fashion, 52 weeks a year and not just during sweeps as others do," she added, "and the numbers clearly bare this out: over the long haul viewers pick WFAA as their top choice for local news at 10 p.m. due to the quality of the newscast and commitment to the community. We are all very proud and grateful for this kind of response."

Clements noted that when it comes to 25-54 women, the News 8 Update at 10 p.m. is now .5 away from winning the demographic rating outright. WFAA doubles KTVT (CBS) in women 25-54, and more than doubles KDFW (FOX) in the same female demographic at 10 p.m.

"Considering the fact that in February 2006 we have maintained a 6 rating in terms of women 25-54 while KXAS (NBC) has dropped nearly a full point year-to-year, and KTVT (CBS) has dropped even more and we are now within a whisker of winning the demo outright that's quite an accomplishment," said Clements.

Beyond the 10 p.m. newscast, WFAA broadcasts including News 8 Midday as well as News 8 at 5 and 6 p.m. all swept their time slots during February with victories in households and key male and female demographics according to Nielsen Media Research. WFAA's News 8 Update at 10 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday nights won the time period, as did Dale Hansen's Sports Special on Sunday nights.

News 8 Daybreak won critical demographic categories including adults 25-54, as well as 25-54 and women 18-49 demographics from 6-7 a.m. Two years ago Daybreak was third out of four stations in the time slot in terms of demographics.

"The market has warmly accepted the News 8 Daybreak team of Justin Farmer, Jackie Hyland, Alexa Conomos and Greg Fields into their morning routines and clearly the audience has responded well in viewership," she said. "WFAA executive news director Michael Valentine and his staff have done a tremendous job crafting the broadcast to appeal to the morning news viewer," added Clements, "and the rising demographics speak directly to the overall impact and success of the program."

"It's been a bit over a year since people meters were introduced to the D-FW market, and as we said then we believed LPMs would provide a clearer picture of specific demographics watching and how much," said Clements.

Perhaps most significant in February sweeps was the station's ability to leapfrog the competition from the network lead-in to the 10 p.m. news. While the local CBS station's lead-ins are in some cases significantly higher, WFAA still increases and wins the 10 p.m. news. "That is a significant statistic and a hallmark of D-FW viewers' preference for News 8," Clements said. She also noted that while ABC programming was actually down 9-10 p.m. year-to-year, the 10 p.m. news had grown during the same period. "Unlike some of the other stations in the market, the success of WFAA's 10 p.m. newscast is not based solely on the network lead-in," she added.

For the twentieth consecutive February, WFAA won both the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts during sweeps. News 8 at 5 p.m. anchored by Jeff Brady and Macie Jepson carried the market with a 6.5 household rating and a 14 share compared to the next closest competitor's 5 household rating/11 share a difference of more than 35,679 homes (according to Nielsen, 23,786 homes equals 1 household rating point). WFAA's 5 p.m. newscast also finished first among every major demographic group measured in the February survey including all significant male and female demographics. News 8 at 6 p.m. anchored by Gloria Campos and John McCaa posted a 6.7 household rating/13 share to finish well ahead of the market's runner up's 5.4/10. The same newscast also won the lion's share of the demographics battles in February.

"LPMs are focused on demographics," said Clements. "In addition to victories in the morning and at 10 p.m., February sweeps also represents big wins for WFAA at 5 and 6 p.m. in terms of male and female 24-54, and 18-49 demographics. It speaks volumes as to the quality of the audience WFAA reaches with local news."

Clements said that contemporary leadership blended with experienced reporters and managers, seasoned anchors and an innovative staff that connects to the community makes a big difference for viewers choosing a station. "It can be an uphill battle to break viewing patterns in a market such as this, particularly when it involves a strong station such as WFAA with so much history, and deep community connections," said Clements. As an example, in 2000 CBS-owned KTVT posted a station-record 5.2 household rating at 10 p.m. in February sweeps after bringing in a former WFAA anchor amid tons of fanfare and glitzy promotion. In the February 2007 sweeps, the same station posted a 5.9 household rating at 10 p.m., a net gain of .7 over a 7-year period.

Weather is a huge part of what drives viewership locally. Since last summer, WFAA veteran weather forecaster Troy Dungan has worked at 6 p.m., flanked by News 8 Meteorologist Pete Delkus at 5 and 10 p.m. "Pete has made a seamless transition into the market as evidenced by his performance, and the market-leading ratings produced during icy weather in February," said Clements. "After 30 years with the station, it is a bittersweet time as Troy is retiring soon. However, we are pleased that Pete is in the driver's seat and leading a reliable, responsible weather team."

During January and February WFAA launched a series of major initiatives: from a new studio in the center of Dallas' Victory Park development, to continue to pioneer new trails in digital technology by becoming north Texas' first station to launch daily local news broadcasts in high definition. "I'm not sure many stations have the kind of staff that could open the doors on a complex new digital remote facility, begin broadcasting all newscasts and other programming in high definition and win the February sweeps, all in less than 60 days," said Clements. "Congratulations to everyone at WFAA."



WFAA-TV/DT is a subsidiary of Belo Corp., one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with 7,100 employees and $1.6 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates in some of America's most dynamic markets in Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic and Rhode Island. Belo owns 20 television stations, six of which are in the 15 largest U.S. broadcast markets. The Company also owns or operates seven cable news channels and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. Belo's daily newspapers are The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). The Company also publishes specialty publications targeting young adults, and the fast-growing Hispanic market, including Quick and Al Dia in Dallas/Fort Worth, and El D and La Prensa in Riverside. Belo operates more than 30 Web sites associated with its operating companies. Additional information is available at or by contacting Dave Muscari, vice president/product development, at 214-977-6490.