May’s Nielsen numbers for May — the first available using the new electronic code readers — show some significant tightening among Mobile’s three television stations.

The readers replaced viewer diaries that were kept by hand and have had a tendency to favor “legacy stations,” or those that have traditionally been the market leaders. Readers keep track of what is actually on a viewer’s television set, as well as when and how often channels are changed.

In comparing May 2015 numbers — when diaries were still being used — to May 2016 data, a pattern seems evident. All stations seem to have moved more toward the middle when it comes to market share. Share is the percentage of people watching TV at a particular time who are tuned into a specific program.

Looking at shares of the coveted 24-54 age group, from morning through the late news broadcasts, the trends were the same. For instance, at the 5 a.m. hour last year, WALA dominated with a 30 share, followed by WKRG with 16 and WPMI with 3. In 2016 it was WALA 12, WKRG 9 and WPMI 5. Also significant is that the total share of all three stations at that time last year was 49, but just 26 this year.

At 6 a.m., WALA dropped from a 26 share last year to 14 this year, WKRG went from 18 to 10 and WPMI bumped up from 4 to 6. The noon shows actually have become a horse race, with WKRG dropping from a 26 share to 9 and WPMI up from 5 to 6.

WKRG’s dominance in the evening news appears to have been whittled away, according to the data. In the 5 p.m. hour, all three stations saw their shares fall. Last year WKRG had a 20 in May, WALA 11 and WPMI 9. This year the order was the same but the shares were 8, 7 and 6, respectively. For overall share that’s a drop from 40 to 21, a 48 percent decrease.

At 6 p.m. WKRG pulled an 8 share this year compared to WPMI’s 6, while last year that was an 18-to-4 disparity. At 9 p.m., where WALA has the only news broadcast, its 2015 share was 11 versus 5 this year.

And finally at 10 p.m., where all three compete head to head, WKRG dropped from 15 last year to 5, WPMI dropped from 9 last year to a 4 share this year and WALA, which last year had non-news programming on at 10 p.m. and pulled a 5 share, this year saw its share at that time period drop to 4.

In 2015 at 10 p.m., the share for all three stations was 29; in 2016 it was 13.

Big fish on the small screen
The Blue Marlin Grand Championship has announced its own television network. For the past two years, weigh-in for the fishing tournament has been broadcast on WPMI, and last year on WTTO in Birmingham. This year WLOX in Biloxi, Mississippi; WJHG in Panama City, Florida; and WNAB in Nashville, Tennessee, will join in.

Kelly Jones and Terra Reeves of WPMI will join Jim Cox in hosting the broadcast this weekend. Friday’s weigh-ins will be live-streamed from 7-10 p.m. and Saturday’s live broadcast will be from 5-10 p.m.