KTUU Maintains TV News Dominance, But KTVA Gains Morning Traction


When it comes to the fight for local news viewers in the Anchorage market, new ratings numbers show both KTUU-Channel 2 and KTVA-Channel 11 succumbing to national election “fatigue,” but their morning shows bucking the trend.

KTUU, the local NBC affiliate, continues to dominate in almost all newscasts, according to November ratings data from Nielsen, which measures TV audiences. In most cases KTUU’s dominance continues to be 3 to 4 times the ratings of its closest competitor, KTVA, Anchorage’s CBS affiliate.

Overall, the data shows the two local news market leaders either holding steady or dropping significantly in their nighttime news products. For instance, at 5 p.m., KTUU went from a 42 share a year ago to a 32 share this November, and KTVA went from a 9 share to a 7 share in that same period.

KTUU General Manager Andrew MacLeod attributes that decline to what he sees as a national trend away from local news in the wake of the November elections, saying, ”the Alaska market faced the same viewer fatigue over the election as the rest of the nation… with only election night garnering a significant audience.”

On that election night, according to Nielsen, KTUU outperformed KTVA by a 35 share to 5 share margin.

The morning is a totally different story for the broadcasters’ news offerings.

Both stations saw ratings increases for their morning news products, but KTVA appears to have really found some traction with its 6 to 7 a.m. offering “Daybreak,” which pairs the perky Megan Mazurek with male anchor James Gaddis. In that timeslot “Daybreak” more than doubled its ratings from last year and the show’s expansion to the 9 a.m. hour this September opened its first ratings period with solid numbers.

KTUU’s “The Morning Edition,” which airs from 5:30 to 7:00 a.m., saw a 15% increase in the ratings, mostly from improving its viewership among younger viewers (18-25). The addition to the show of MJ Thim almost a year ago was widely seen as an effort to attract those younger viewers, so the move appears to have paid dividends.

“The Morning Edition,” however, has gone through multiple rounds of reformatting in the last two years, from a straight news presentation to a more couch-based talk show format and back again. One has to wonder how many times KTUU can shake things up in the morning before viewers will permanently move to KTVA’s more consistent product.

Speaking to KTVA management on Thursday, they said they don’t comment on Nielsen ratings because they find their ratings to be erratic and methodology questionable. Our conversation was off the record, but their comments were in line with what KTVA General Manager Gary Donovan told the
Alaska Dispatch News
last January:

“There’s still a wide gap between the two stations,” said Gary Donovan, general manager of KTVA, “but I don’t think anybody sees (the ratings) as being particularly accurate. …There’s no doubt that our station is growing, and growing quite dramatically.”

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