New Broadcast TV Season Sees Same Steady Viewing Declines

TV's broadcast network premiere week for the 2019-2020 season showed more double-digit percentage declines in traditional Nielsen measurement.

Looking at the top four broadcast networks, total average viewers for the first week of the season were down 9% to 6.2 million viewers in Nielsen live program-plus-same day time-shifted viewing -- with 18-49 viewers off 12% to a Nielsen 1.35 rating.

NBC had a major boost from “Sunday Night Football.” It took over where it left off last year and then some -- with top metrics in both 18-49 viewers and total viewers.

However, NBC -- as with most other networks -- showed declines, down 10% in 18-49 ratings to a 1.8 rating/9 share, and 5% lower in total viewers to 7.48 million viewers.

Fox was a rare exception in the first week -- benefitting from another season of “Thursday Night Football,” which pushed Fox's total viewer average 8% higher to 5.74 million and 6% higher in 18-49 ratings to a 1.7 rating/8 share.



CBS took on some of the biggest losses -- partly due to the absence of one of its strongest shows, “The Big Bang Theory,” which concluded its 12-season run last May.

CBS dipped 18% in total viewers to 6.89 million, losing a rare top spot in the week's period to NBC. The network also sank 23% in its first week in 18-49 viewer ratings to a Nielsen 1.0 rating/5 share.

ABC drifted just below CBS, down 13% in total viewers to 4.7 million and off 25% in 18-49 viewers to a  0.9 rating/5 share.

4 comments about "New Broadcast TV Season Sees Same Steady Viewing Declines".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 2, 2019 at 11:40 a.m.

    Prosperity is just around the corner.

  2. Suzanne Sell from Independent, October 2, 2019 at 1:22 p.m.

    At some point, using 18-49 as the bellweather will have to stop.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 2, 2019 at 3:10 p.m.

    Many of the early games were terrible as teams were forced to use second and even third string quarterbacks due to injuries or illness plauging their star players.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 2, 2019 at 3:24 p.m.

    Suzanne, you are right. The "key" buying "demos"--18-49 and 25-54---date back to the mid-late 1960s---a time when the broadcast TV network's had no competition and reached tons of younger and middle aged adults per minute. That changed 20 years ago and its well past time that the GRP tonnage guarantee metrics were changed to refelct where the audience is really coming from. Adults 18+ would, in my opinion, be a far better GRP guarantee "demo" than 18-49 or 25-54, providing advertisers took the trouble to aslo evaluate their buys in terms of GRP attainment by other demos---age and income being the most likely. The sellers wouldn't guarantee GRPs based on these, as only one metric works for tonnage guarantees---but the buyers coud be rated on their ability to get a better audience composition as well as the lowest CPM for adults 18+

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