Media Scene

TV ratings: Charlotte dead last in nation for Olympics viewing

Anchors Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb with Olympian Ryan Held on NBC’s “Today” show. Ratings have been off nationally for this year’s games, and Charlotte is dead last among metro areas in Olympics viewing, according to Nielsen.
Anchors Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb with Olympian Ryan Held on NBC’s “Today” show. Ratings have been off nationally for this year’s games, and Charlotte is dead last among metro areas in Olympics viewing, according to Nielsen. NBC

We’re so lazy, we don’t even watch the Olympics.

Of the nation’s major urban television markets, Charlotte ranks dead last in the percentage of viewers turning into the Rio games during prime time.

We’re No. 56 out of 56, according to Nielsen.

In Salt Lake City, the nation’s No. 1 consumer of televised Olympics, an average of 22.5 percent of the households are tuned in during prime time. In No. 2 Denver, it’s 20.8 percent and in No. 3 Indianapolis it’s 20 percent.

In Charlotte, whose television market includes 22 counties from the Virginia line to Chester, S.C., it’s 12.9 percent.

If we rally in the last few days, we could still catch No. 55 Providence, R.I., where the Olympics are watched in 13 percent of households or Detroit, which ranks 54 with 13.9 percent.

Charlotte’s sagging Olympic performance is still good news to local NBC affiliate WCNC (Channel 36). Even 12.9 percent of the television audience is a huge number in these days of fragmented media choices.

WCNC’s best month in prime-time viewing so far this year has been January with about 4 percent of households, and the Olympics are delivering more than three times that many viewers, according to Nielsen.

We were slackers from the start: In the opening ceremony, usually the most-watched segment of any Olympics, we ranked dead last nationally.

No one can say why cities differ in their Olympic appetites. Charlotte, where Olympians train with SwimMAC’s Team Elite, has traditionally been one of the more ho-hum performers through the years in Olympic ratings.

Ken Haines, retired president of Charlotte-based Raycom Sports, thinks it may be because the region has gotten accustomed to success in pro sports with the Panthers and the Hornets.

“I’ve seen a bit of a change in this town toward professional sports,” he said Thursday, “and a little diminished passion for amateur sports – and you can argue that’s what the Olympics are.”

Also, he said, Charlotte doesn’t have a major local university like Stanford that excels in training Olympic athletes, so there aren’t as many local champions to follow.

Charlotte newscasts

Here are the average number of weekday viewers for key weekday newscasts on Charlotte television stations as measured by Nielsen in the latest sweeps period in July and percentage change from July 2015.

Average number of viewers

Change

6 AM

WSOC

49,800

-10%

WBTV

49,200

+21%

WCNC

22,000

+38%

WCCB

6,000

-38%

WJZY

3,200

+204%

NOON

WBTV

65,000

-7%

WSOC

60,400

-11%

WCNC

25,500

+74%

6 PM

WSOC

101,200

No change

WBTV

96,350

+7%

WCNC

52,390

+33%

WJZY

4,000

-23%

NETWORK NEWS

ABC

117,300

-2%

CBS

88,500

+5%

NBC

76,350

+21%

10 PM

WAXN

33,000

-17%

WCCB

18,200

-12%

WJZY

10,400

-3%

11 PM

WBTV

64,950

+3%

WSOC

58,700

-18%

WCNC

38,000

+47%

Source: Nielsen.

Mark Washburn’s analysis: WCNC (Channel 36) continues to be a success story, showing gains in all major key newscasts. Though it remains a distant third to giants WSOC (Channel 9) and WBTV (Channel 3) among all viewers regardless of age, it is showing double-digit growth against its rivals in news shows. In the sweeps period, June 30 to July 27 in the weeks leading up to the Olympics, NBC performed strongly in prime time – which is unusual in Charlotte – and the station was able to keep many of those viewers for its 11 p.m. newscast, an important strategic move for gaining late-night audience and building year-to-year gains. CBS led prime-time viewing during the period with about 63,000 viewers on average, followed by NBC with 56,000. ABC only delivered an average of 52,000 viewers in prime-time, but WSOC still outperformed its lead-in at 11 p.m.

  Comments