Friday, April 2, 2010

Network News Ratings for ABC and CBS B-A-D

HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 05:  (L-R) NBC Nightly N...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
First quarter 2010 ratings for ABC World News & CBS Evening News hit record lows respectively, according to a report in today's New York Times.

ABC World News ratings numbers declined 3 percent from a year ago, which may or may not be related to Diane Sawyer replacing Charlie Gibson as anchor. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams had its best 1st quarter ratings numbers in five years, benefitting from its Winter Olympics coverage. Overall, the viewer numbers were: NBC, 9.92 million; ABC, 8.27 million; and CBS, 6.45 million.

The numbers don't address a problem that plagues all three networks; namely, demographics.  The 25- to 53-year-old viewer group over whom advertisers salivate is not the bread-and-butter of  network news loyalists nowadays for a myriad of reasons, ranging from the Internet to the simple truth that many folks are still at the office at the hour when network news airs. As the accompanying commercials reflect, seniors make up a sizable percentage of  network news watchers, most likely pining for the days of Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Huntley & Brinkley, and Dan Rather.

As ad revenues continue to plummet at all three networks, one wonders whether news anchors will continue to command rock-star salaries such as those doled out to Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Brian Williams.

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