Boston: Big shakeup in network affiliation
NBCU is launching a new NBC station, expanding buyers' options
July 15, 2016
It will also see a major shakeup on TV at the start of 2017.
Following the decision by NBC parent NBCUniversal to launch a new station in the market, WHDH-TV will lose its NBC affiliation on Jan. 1. The move prompted a lawsuit from the station, which claimed NBCU violated its affiliate agreement.
A U.S. District judge threw out the suit in May, but last month WHDH appealed that decision.
Assuming the new affiliate launches as planned, WHDH will operate as an independent station.
The switch is sure to change how buyers buy TV in the Boston market.
Buyers say the new NBC station will likely have a weaker signal than WHDH and may not reach the entire market.
“The high cable penetration of the Boston DMA will help mitigate this issue, but not alleviate it all together,” says Tracie Chinetti, managing director of media at Fuseideas.
Chinetti sees some benefit to the new station. “This will add additional news into the market, as WHDH and the new NBC station will both air news in major time periods.”
Strong TV ad spending
Overall, Boston remains a very healthy TV market that is pacing toward another year of record-setting political spending. But a number of other ad categories are active as well, including retail, fast casual restaurants, entertainment, travel and education.
“The TV market is very strong, even when you take out political,” Chinetti says.
Next month’s summer Olympics in Rio will also give the market an added boost, and the increased demand will go well beyond Olympics carrier NBC. Chinetti says some advertisers will sit out the busy Olympics weeks but most will stay in. That will help other stations as well.
The Olympics draw good ratings in Boston, but not as strong as in other markets. For example, the 2012 Summer Games averaged a 16.8 household rating, according to Nielsen, placing Boston 44th out of the 56 metered markets.
Boston radio ratings fall but spending doesn’t
Meanwhile, Boston radio spending is also healthy, driven by the usual categories fast food, telecom and auto dealers.
Boston radio ratings have fallen in recent years, driving stations to increase rates to make up for shortfalls.
“The market is continuing to fragment, so while cost-per-points are going up, stations are not really seeing a great deal more money,” says Chinetti.
Greater Media has a strong radio presence in Boston. It owns three of June’s top seven stations, as measured by Nielsen Audio portable people meters.
The company’s classic hits station WROR-FM was No. 1 for the month with an 8.3 average quarter-hour listener share, while its adult contemporary station WMJX-FM was No. 2 with a 7.5.
Those were the only two stations during the month to post at least a 7.0 AQH share.
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