The Detroit designated market area, as defined by Nielsen Media Research, has dropped out of the country's top 10 markets, falling into 11th place behind Houston. It's the first time ever that Detroit has been outside of the Top 10. At one time during TV's early days in the 1950s, the Motor City was ranked as high as the 4th largest market, behind only New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Since then the Detroit market has slipped steadily down those Top 10 rankings and is now on the outside looking in.
The annual re-ranking of radio and TV markets showed mixed results this year for Detroit: Arbitron earlier placed the radio market as the 9th largest in the country, up from 10th. Arbitron and Nielsen each define their market areas differently, resulting in the disparity between the services.
According to MediaWeek, Nielsen estimates the total number of TV households in the USA increased 0.5 percent to 110.2 million with much of the increase occurring among ethnic populations. The impact of the baby boom generation is being felt more than ever too as the number of Women 55+ TV households increased by 2.5 percent to 36.2 million while the number of Men 55+ was up 3.1 percent to 29.7 million.
Nielsen reported significant shifts in the local market rankings, primarily due to population growth in the southern and western regions of the U.S. As a result, Houston moved up in rank to No. 10 from No. 11, while Detroit moved down to No. 11 from No. 10. Among the top 15 markets, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., (formerly No. 13) is now ranked No. 12. Phoenix moves up to No. 14 from No. 15, and Portland, Ore., moves up to No. 23 from No. 24. Las Vegas continues to be one of the fastest growing markets in the country, moving up three ranks to No. 48.
Even though Houston is now the 10th largest TV market, a Nielsen spokesperson said the ratings firm will continue with its originally-planned schedule to roll out the local people meter service to Detroit, now ranked No. 11. “We haven’t announced plans to go beyond the 10-announced markets,” said the spokesperson.
Changes to the rankings of various TV markets in Michigan is outlined below:
|Market||2005-06 rank||2004-05 rank|
It will be interesting to observe if there is any noticeable impact on the news operations of Channels 2, 4, and 7 in Detroit over time now that the prestige of being a top 10 market is gone. That impact might be significant when considering high profile ad placements that might only be placed in Top 10 markets. One would think that there is little chance of the Detroit market ever moving back into the top 10 given the general trend of people moving south and west from the Midwest, making this a sad day indeed in local television history.