Prime-Time Viewer Race Tightens

Now with 26 weeks of the TV season completed, there is a significant tightening of the prime-time viewership race. One big midseason Fox show has been a key factor.

The Peacock Network is now at a Nielsen 2.6 average prime-time rating among 18-49 viewers through March 22, looking at live-plus-seven day program data for all but the most recent two weeks.

CBS is next at 2.4, followed by ABC in third with a 2.2 and Fox at a 2.1. Fox has benefited from a contribution of its “Empire” drama, a big midseason rookie show. The CW was next with a 0.8 rating.

CBS maintains its usual lead among all prime-time viewers -- at 11.5 million viewers. NBC is next at 9.2 million, followed by ABC at 7.9 million, Fox with 6.2 million, and CW at 2.1 million.

Back in mid-December 2014, NBC was at an average 2.9 prime-time 18-49 viewership rating, followed by CBS at 2.5; ABC with 2.4; Fox at a 2.1; and The CW with a 0.9.



2 comments about "Prime-Time Viewer Race Tightens".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 26, 2015 at 10:21 a.m.

    Is the five-way race among legacy networks even important anymore? In 2015, the broadcast networks seem less and less relevant. What is their combined share of viewing these days? The choices seem to range narrowly from all-time low to near all-time low.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 26, 2015 at 7:34 p.m.

    If you take all five of them and adjust for the fact that two of the networks aren't fully programmed in primetime, its around 30%, Douglas. But that includes non-commercial TV like PBS and Pay cable, plus a few much smaller venues. Delete these and the broadcast networks probably garner a third of all ad-supported primetime program viewing. Moreover, if we look at reach, as we did, recently, in our annual, "TV Dimensions 2015", a single fully programmed network ----ABC, CBS or NBC----reaches something like 20-25% of the adult population in a week and 30-40% in a month with just its primetime fare. Take all three networks together, and their combined monthly reach is on the order of 75% per month. Obviously there are variations by demographics. For example, the three major networks' monthly reach among Millennials is lower than their all-adult norm---around 60-65% ---while it's much higher for the 65+ age group---around 85-90%. While the networks' average minute ratings are a lot lower than in their glory days, the reach stats are nothing to laugh at in this increasingly fragmented media world.

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