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Local news still king in the US TV market

Even though the majority of American households take a pay-TV subscription, cable news is dwarfed in terms of viewership by local news broadcasts, according to research from TVB, the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry.

TVB reports that the combined audience for early and late evening news in the top 10 US TV markets delivers an audience of nearly 6 million viewers nightly, compared to an audience of approximately 700,000 viewers for national cable primetime news.

The local broadcast advantage over cable news is 168% in the top 3 U.S. TV markets, while local broadcast news beats the national cable news networks by more than 430% in the top 10. One of the reasons for this advantage, according to TVB, is that local broadcasts offer advertisers the ability to reach a more demographically balanced audience relative to that of primetime national cable news programming.

“The data is conclusive in highlighting the enormous audience reach and composition balance advantages local broadcast TV news provides advertisers compared with national cable primetime news networks,” said TVB CEO Steve Lanzano. “It’s also clear from the findings that viewers aged 35-54 strongly favour local evening news over national cable primetime news.”