It’s been six months since NBC Boston launched, joining the city’s five other TV outlets, including WHDH-TV Channel 7, which had been the local NBC affiliate for 20 years before network bosses decided to start a new NBC-owned station here.
So it seems as good a time as any to gauge how NBC Boston’s fledgling news programs are faring against their established rivals. The short answer: not very well.
According to the July ratings, WCVB Channel 5 is the clear frontrunner, winning more newscasts than any other station in Boston, while NBC Boston lags far behind, finishing last — well behind NBC’s former affiliate, WHDH-TV — in the ratings for every newscast except 11 p.m., when it finishes fourth in total households.
“WCVB’s decisive win in the important July sweep . . . across the vast majority of newscasts, in all key demos, all day long . . . is very gratifying and a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Channel 5,’’ crowed WCVB General Manager Bill Fine. “This is a competitive market with numerous and expanding options for local news, so we continue to be very grateful to the viewers who again recognized our efforts and commitment and who keep us ‘Boston’s News Leader.’ ’’
Channel 5 finished No. 1 in every newscast except 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, which Channel 7 won, and 4:30 a.m., which WBZ-TV Channel 4 won. In virtually every newscast, NBC Boston — officially, it’s WBTS-TV — finished well behind its competitors in the key 25-54 demographic.
Some growing pains were to be expected at NBC Boston, whose on-air personalities are mostly a mix of reporters/anchors who previously worked at New England Cable News or Channel 7. But ratings for network programs suggest that people have not had trouble finding the “Today Show’’ or “The Tonight Show,’’ so the theory that viewers are confused about where NBC Boston is on the TV dial doesn’t hold up.
A spokesperson for NBC Boston did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.