We received some unsettling news from Nielsen, the folks who conduct ratings for the television stations. The Hartford/New Haven market remains the 30th biggest television market in the country, but we lost nearly 10,000 TV homes, or households…in one year! For the 2011-12 season Nielsen listed 1,006,280 households, and 996,550 for the 2012-13 season. Yikes!
We were not alone in the northeast. # 7 Boston, #1 New York, #53 Providence, # 113 Springfield, # 80 Portland, and # 95 Burlington, VT also suffered losses. New York lost 3,000 households, and you don’t have to be a mathematician to see that our loss was far worse.
So who gained? Plenty of places, including #2 Los Angeles (gained 50,000 homes,) #9 Atlanta, # 10 Houston, #71 Honolulu, even #11 Detroit. Markets 12-17 all grew: Seattle, Phoenix, Tampa, Minneapolis, Miami and Denver. My old market of Grand Rapids, Michigan jumped from 42 to 39, even though it lost households.
Why the big drop? Our ratings guru Rob Luciano says part of the plunge can be blamed on people switching from television to the internet.
On a depressing note, Denise D’Ascenzo told me when she was first hired at WFSB in 1986 this was market # 21. When I got here in 1992 it had slipped to #23, and we were at #27 a few years later. Nipping at our heels at #31 is Kansas City, Missouri. It also lost households, so I think we might hold steady at #30 for a while.
As you may know, the Hartford New Haven market comprises the entire state, with the exception of Fairfield County. A strong argument could be made that part of the county should be in the Hartford market. Danbury and Bridgeport are both closer to the capital city than midtown Manhattan. Adding those cities would be a dramatic increase in households.
For sports fans: we remain the biggest television market without a major league team.