NBC won the 18-49 November sweeps for the first time in nine years, but what does that mean come the last week in May? Even then, what does winning the "live plus same day" 18-49 season mean anymore?
Come January, things will change for NBC. "The Voice,” running multiple nights a week, will go on hiatus until spring. And “Sunday Night Football” -- now the biggest 18-49-rated prime-time show, having passed last year’s leader "American Idol" -- will be over. All that gives Fox room to step up to the plate again with "Idol."
"Idol," still packing a sizable punch when it comes to prime-time viewing on multiple nights, is stronger than Fox's fall singing reality series "The X Factor,” which should be enough to make NBC nervous again.
CBS also won’t give up. It still has a strong and stable lineup -- plus the Super Bowl in February.
Then again, maybe there will be a wildcard: After the start of the year, viewers will seek what they always seek -- something new, perhaps gravitating to something out of the blue.
Better news for the networks might come from an improved national advertising marketplace. Senior executives of the major media companies that own the big broadcast networks keep talking about -- and hoping for -- this to happen
As for the usual trends, CBS Corp President/CEO Les Moonves recently cautioned that analysts should stop looking at only live program plus same day time-shifted ratings.
They doesn't say much -- not when almost half the country’s households have DVR time-shifting technology and are watching shows up to seven days or more after their initial airings. It also matters little when networks only get paid by advertisers based on commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing.
Will NBC, Fox, ABC, or CBS "win" the season? Words with projections like this still create maximum marketing spin. No doubt, all networks -- even in this rapidly changing marketplace -- still look for those big headlines.
Big TV producers take notice, as do advertisers, and even occasionally viewers.