Crain’s Detroit Business reports some new TV ratings information today. Detroit Tigers broadcasts on FSN Detroit averaged an 8.1 rating in June.
By comparison, WXYZ-TV‘s 6:00 news led the market with an 8.0 average rating in May. When I produced the 6:00 news at WDIV-TV in the mid-90s, we needed a 13 rating to assure ourselves a win. Where did that 40% of the audience go in the last 10 years? Not to local news but to other channels or to “off.”
It used to be that the 6:00 local news was considered mass appeal programming and sports, particularly on cable, was considered niche programming. Guess what? The numbers show local TV news is now a niche product too, as is most everything on TV, save “American Idol.” Narrowcasting has replaced broadcasting on TV, much as niche publications replaced general interest magazines like “Life” in decades past.
We counsel Tanner Friedman clients to target their messaging to specific audiences. Detroit’s TV ratings are another example of how “mass” media doesn’t often play to the masses anymore.