Local broadcast news more effective on voters than cable


TVB / Television Bureau of AdvertisingSo says the TVB in just-released findings of an analysis indicating that local early and late news audiences in the Top 10 measured U.S. markets more closely match the composition of America’s voters than that of primetime viewers of national cable news networks (CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, HLN and MSNBC).

Based on TVB’s analysis of Nielsen Media Research data in May 2012 (4/26/12 – 5/23/12) and U.S. Census data from the last Presidential election (July 2012 report – see sources), only 19% of voters are Americans over the age of 65, a demographic that makes up half (50%) of the primetime cable news audience.   The largest group of voters fall between the ages of 35 and 54 (39%), a demographic that is under-represented by primetime cable news (22%).  In contrast, the audience composition of local early and late news in the Top 10 U.S. measured markets more closely mirrored America’s voters with 32% of its viewership coming from the core voter demographic of 35-54. Furthermore, within the TV markets of the key battleground states, local broadcast news delivered 28% of the 35-54 voting demo, reinforcing the importance of local broadcast news to political advertisers this election cycle.

Voter Disconnect: Distribution of Voting Population in Comparison to News Viewers

Source: TVB Analysis of Nielsen Media Research Data. May 2012 (4/26-5/23/12). Live +7. National Cable primetime includes CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, HLN, MSNBC, 6p-12midnight. Top 10 local markets = NY, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Houston. Battleground State Markets (DMAs measured) = COLORADO (Colorado Srings, Denver, Grand Junction), FLORIDA (Ft. Myers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Panama City, Tallahassee, West Palm Beach), MISSOURI (Columbia-Jefferson, Joplin, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Joseph, St. Louis), NORTH CAROLINA (Charlotte, Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson, Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, Greenville-New Bern-Washington, Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington), OHIO (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lima, Toledo, Youngstown, Zanesville), PENNSYLVANIA (Erie, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre), VIRGINIA (Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Tri-Cities, Washington, DC).

“It’s long been established that television remains the most effective and influential medium for political campaigns to reach voters and hard data shows that local broadcast news viewership is far more in line with today’s voting population than the national cable news networks,” commented Steve Lanzano, TVB President.  “For the key 35-54 voter demographic, which accounts for nearly 40% of all voters, a media buy on local broadcast TV news is on target.  With only 22% of its audience coming from this critical voter demographic, primetime cable news is courting older non-voters at the expense of younger active ones.”

Lanzano added, “Looking forward to the 2012 presidential campaign, the analysis of the Nielsen data confirms that the voter demo viewership trends, which favor local broadcast TV, carry over to the ten battleground states that are expected to have a dramatic impact on the outcome of the November election.  Politicians and campaign managers can take this data to the bank and strategically purchase advertising on local broadcast television news to maximize effectiveness for their candidates this political season.”