Media Buying and Inbound Marketing Blog

Which Early News Show Is Leading in the TV Ratings?

By Jane Peters on May 6, 2015 |


News and sports programming are still the leaders in live TV ratings and a must have for most media buyers' media strategies.  For that reason alone, the battle to be first in news is important to the networks and their tv_icon_2012-03-17_at_9.48.39_ambottom lines.

Since NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was suspended for six months without pay for "misremembering" a military incident while reporting overseas, NBC Nightly News has struggled.  Lester Holt doesn't seem to have the same appeal as Brian once did, or perhaps the incident has tarnished NBC's credibility more than they thought. 

The first week of the May sweeps showed ABC’s World News Tonight hosted by David Muir ahead in the key news demo of Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 while NBC had more total viewers for the week.  CBS Evening News was third in all three categories. 

Total Viewers

NBC Nightly News: 7.726 million

ABC World News Tonight: 7.687 million

CBS Evening News: 6.576 million

As more people use their mobile devices and other portable screens to catch breaking news, the importance of TV ratings for the cable-news networks has become huge.

Currently, Fox News Channel dominates the cable news category, mainly with it's senior citizen viewers. But with the proliferation of mobile devices , a new multi-platform news consumer is changing the landscape.  These viewers are much younger and most avoid FNC. They access news through a combination of different devices and traditional sources. 

According to Pew Research, “fully 64% of tablet owners say they get news on their devices weekly and 37% report they do so daily.” As things turn out, the trend is quite similar for people who own smartphones. Pew found 62% they get news on their device weekly and 36% do so daily.

During the first week of the May sweeps, cable news ratings show Fox News Channel ranked first in total day viewers among all ad-supported cable networks.  

CNN ranked No. 8 in prime time with an average of 1.2 million viewers between 8-11pm ET and  No. 10 in total day viewers. MSNBC is No. 25 in prime time and No. 26 in total day. HLN ranks No. 47 in prime time and No. 37 in total day.

Are you a news junkie?  Where do you get your news on a daily basis?

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