First Results From Kansas News First Experiment

By: Jim Ogle
By: Jim Ogle

Posted by Jim Ogle, General Manager of WIBW Channels

KSNT has initiated an interesting new process in its effort to catch up with WIBW. Starting the weekend of July 30th, it eliminated the separate newscasts at KSNT and KTKA and merged them all into a single newscast, named Kansas First News, broadcast on both stations at the same time at 6 pm and 10 pm.

In an interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal, News Director Nate Hill asked possible viewers of the new experiment to have "patience" as they worked out the bugs.

The key question may be, will advertisers have the patience Hill wants?

Here's a look at how the experiment is working so far.

The last week of separate newscasts produced on KSNT and KTKA was the Monday through Friday starting on July 25th.

During that week, at 10pm, WIBW had a rating of 20.45, KSNT 9.36, KTKA 3.16 and the combined newscasts did a 12.52.

The first week of the experiment was the Monday through Friday starting on August 1st. During that first week of the "experiment," WIBW had a 10pm rating of 21.08, KSNT 8.13, KTKA 3.01 and the combined newscasts did an 11.14 rating.

The 10pm news generates the most viewers of any newscast and the most revenue. In that first week, the combined "Kansas First News" lost 11% of its viewers from the previous week.

So, did advertisers get 11% back?

Fortunately, we know where those viewers went-- to WIBW. Our 10pm news was up 3%. Since we started with a 44,000 viewer base and KSNT-KTKA had 20,000 viewer base, 11% of KSNT-KTKA lost 2,000 viewers and WIBW gained almost all of them.

We also have a feel for how the second week of the experiment went.

During the week of August 8th, KSNT-KTKA then went down 13% combined from the base two weeks before. At that same time, WIBW increased by 6% over the base week.

The audience loss isn't limited to the 10pm news. At 6pm, the combined broadcast of KSNT-KTKA is down 4% from the last separate station week two weeks before. At the same time, over the two weeks, WIBW is up 4%.

With viewers voting with their remotes, it will be interesting to see how advertisers on either KSNT or KTKA will have the "patience" to last out the experiment's growing pains.

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