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Katz Finds Less Urgency to Expand Early News

Aug 18, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The early local news bird doesn’t always catch the ratings worm, according to the latest update of Katz Television Group Programming’s early fringe local news expansion index, which first was published in 1996 and examines performance back through 1994.

Expansion into the 4-5 p.m. hour — mostly with 30-minute news programs — had become more urgent in the past three seasons but has slowed significantly this season, said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for the Katz Television Group, in the index released Wednesday.

“Many stations were looking at early fringe news expansion in time periods as early as 4 p.m., when it appeared that Oprah Winfrey might be leaving afternoon schedules. Now that Oprah has signed to continue with her show through her 25th season (2010-2011), the urgency for news expansion has waned,” said Mr. Carroll. “This index tells us that caution is the best approach when revisiting that option at any time in the future.”

“When looking at overall household share performance, the index showed that only 40 percent of the expansions have improved their pre-expansion share levels through this past May, while 60 percent were either flat (15 percent) or more significantly, down (45 percent),” said Lisa Hollaender, director of Katz programming research.