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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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In a continuing effort to explain why we do what we do when it snows, I'm happy to play our cards face up.

The Nielsen overnight ratings are in for our extended storm team coverage, and the bottom line is people watched. Far more people watched Today's TMJ4 in various parts of the day than usual. In many cases, far more people watched our weather coverage than anything else on TV at the time.

Let's start about 4:45 AM. This is where the greatest disparities begin to show. We normally air NBC News national show, Early Today in this time slot. On the day before the winter storm (last Tuesday) Nielsen numbers show an estimated audience of about 17,000 people. The following day, we were in local snow coverage, and it was viewed by about 50,000 people.

From that point on... Today's TMJ4 had more viewers than any other television station, until people took a break to watch the Price is Right. In other words... given all the options viewers had to watch anything else that morning, they chose to watch our weather coverage more than any other program.

I know some folks were upset over not being able to watch the Today Show, especially those looking for the political analysis from Super Tuesday. Here's why we stuck with weather coverage.

Tuesday's first two hours of the Today Show averaged about 46,000 viewers. Wednesday's snow coverage averaged about 104,000 viewers. 

Sorry about canceling Days of our Lives. About 42,000 people watched it Tuesday. Wednesday our extended Weather Plus coverage had nearly 120,000 people watching.

Montel: 30,000 viewers on Tuesday. Same time slot during snow coverage: more than 130,000.

This sort of trend continued on through the afternoon. People chose to watch our weather coverage, over everything else on at the time. Our reporters frolicking in the snow, beat Dr. Phil, Ellen, and Oprah.

Our meteorologists tracking the storm beat Judges Alex, Brown, and Judy. The verdict was in. Weather coverage carried the day.

I'm not telling you this to brag. Far from it. I'm empowering you with the information we use to drive our decisions in these situations. My bosses read the emails you send. They listen to the messages people leave. Some are supportive, some are critical. You should know, however, they care mostly about what viewers do, not what they say. People vote with their remotes.

So in a nutshell, if we continue to gain 100,000 viewers in situations where we blow out a show to cover weather, we're going to feed the appetite our customers have shown.

We will do that, and still not everyone will be happy. There's never been a 100% rating in the history of television. The recent Super Bowl was one of the best in history. It was the highest rated sporting event ever, and the second most watched television broadcast of all time. Still, 20% of the people watching T.V. that night were watching something else!

We'll never please all the people all the time. We will always, however, try to legislate to the majority... a majority which last week Wednesday wanted weather coverage above all else.

Please join us tomorrow morning as we're expecting another 4-6 inches of snow! Ahhhhhh!




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