NBC10’s 11 p.m. news seems to have weathered the departure of popular meteorologist Sheena Parveen.
That’s one of many possible takeaways from the results of the May sweeps ratings period, in which the Comcast-NBCUniversal-owned station’s late newscast, for what it says is the first time since 2004, was No. 1 among the 25- to 54-year-olds advertisers pay to reach, with an average 57,370 viewers in that demographic, compared to 6ABC’s 51,240 and CBS3’s 30,750.
(For entertainment, the target audience is most often 18-49, and in some cases, 18-34, but news audiences tend to be older.)
The news wasn’t all good for Channel 10. According to Nielsen ratings supplied by the station, it was at the same time No. 3 among total viewers, with an average nightly audience of 120,990 viewers for the 11 p.m. newscast anchored by Jacqueline London and Jim Rosenfield. That puts it behind 6ABC’s 208,400 total viewers and CBS3’s 123,720 (and means that 6ABC, too, can declare itself No. 1).
And a comparison with May sweeps ratings in 2016 and 2015 shows continuing, and in some cases, sharp declines in overall local news viewership at 10 and 11.
Anzio Williams is nevertheless celebrating.
“The future of our business is those adults 25-54,” Williams, NBC10’s vice president of news, said Wednesday.
Williams, who joined the station in July 2012 after stints as news director in Sacramento and New Orleans, has long had his sights set on 6ABC’s Action News, which has dominated the market for decades.
“We’re all humans, and we like what we’re used to,” he told a Daily News reporter in June 2013, referring to viewers’ loyalty to 6ABC. “But I think in these crazy economic times, you better make sure the dollar you spend goes further. I believe that if folks are going to spend their time — which is their ‘money’ — watching us, we have to be a better value.”
Better value, in Williams’ eyes, means balancing crime coverage with other kinds of stories and coverage that extends to all parts of the viewing area. “Philadelphia deserved a better newscast,” he said Wednesday, pointing to investments the station had made in both reporting and technology.
“I think our weather coverage continues to get better,” Williams said. Parveen is “a wonderful young lady. But let’s give Philadelphia more credit than that, that it was just watching this young lady.”
Tammie Souza “is a heavyweight in the meteorology community. She actually awarded Sheena her meteorology seal,” said Williams of Parveen’s successor, who started at the station in March. A Pittsburgh native, she’d previously worked at a Fox station in Chicago. Both she and chief meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz have been part of the 11 p.m. team this spring.
Williams acknowledged a challenging future for local TV news, whose viewership has been declining in most markets. Last year, the Pew Research Center reported that, “since 2007, the average audience for these late night newscasts has declined 22 percent.”
“We know that a lot of folks don’t have TVs,” he said. “I talk to a lot of folks, 30 and under, who don’t have a TV in the house.”
That’s why, he said, “we have to be in this social media space…so that when they do turn on that TV, they already have a brand relationship.”