'World News Tonight' Gains, But 'NBC Nightly News' Holds Lead

In the wake of NBC’s suspension of Brian Williams, ABC’s “World News Tonight” made some gains against the “NBC Nightly News” -- but has not overtaken it.

In total viewers, “World News Tonight” was up 2% to a Nielsen 9.032 million viewers for the most recent week (February 9 through February 15) versus the same week a year ago. “NBC Nightly News” was down 19% to 9.43 million.

NBC still leads in the key news viewers that advertisers want: the 25-54 demo. NBC is down 18% versus a year ago to 2.292 million versus ABC, which is off 6% to 2.242 million. One crucial note: in comparison to a year ago, NBC was airing the Sochi Olympics in February 2014, which gave a big boost to almost all programming that surrounded it.

Williams' six-month suspension was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 10. “World News Tonight” beat “NBC Nightly News” on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Williams is being replaced during his suspension by Lester Holt.

For its part, CBS News was down 4% in total viewers to 7.628 million for the week; it also registered 1.786 million 18-49 viewers.



1 comment about "'World News Tonight' Gains, But 'NBC Nightly News' Holds Lead".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 20, 2015 at 8:36 a.m.

    With news, in particular, small rating ups and downs from night to night or week to week don't have much significance. It's the long term trend that should be looked at. This is because the "core" every night audience of each newscast---which may account for 50-60% of its total nightly audience----doesn't jump ship based on the news itself but, rather, because it likes the anchor and the mix of reporters---- or, gradually, grows dissatisfied with them. This is what determines the rating "fate" of the show. Right now, NBC Nightly News "core" viewers------several million of them----- are probably giving the new anchor some slack. If, after a number of months, they feel that the show is no longer satisfying them they will start to seek out alternatives----mainly rival newscasts----and this will gradually become evident in the ratings, as losses outweigh gains for NBC. Therefore, I suggest that an extended "trending" analysis----if you can get the data from NBC or somewhere else----- would be more revealing. In other words, how did each show do this week vs. last week and the previous week, etc. with the shape of the long term trend lines being the main indicator.

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