Neither NBC nor Nielsen is releasing stats detailing how many viewers NBC is adding by factoring in those pre-dawn repeats of NBC Nightly News; one conservative estimate suggested it was about 70,000 viewers. Nielsen has not broken out that information, nor has NBC. ABC’s David Muir-anchored World News Tonight won the week in the news demo, with 2.15 million viewers, to NBC’s 2.04 million and CBS’ 1.48 million.
Even with the additional viewers, NBC is set to log its lowest first quarter in the news demo since at least Nielsen began tracking with electronic records in 1991 and lowest in total viewers since 2013. Season to date, NBC’s newscast leads ABC’s by 520,000 viewers and CBS by 1.92 million. Its lead over ABC in the news demo is a mere 29,000 viewers (453,000 ahead of CBS), and it’s edge in the younger demo is 130,000 over ABC (and 416,000 over CBS).
NBC News no longer is able to factor those wee-hour reruns of its Nightly News into the broadcast ratings as of this week, since media buyers asked the network to stop running their clients’ ads in those rebroadcasts. Starting last night, those rebroadcasts on some NBC affiliate stations did not include national ads. Lacking national spots, Nielsen does not rate the broadcasts, which cannot then be merged into the franchise’s ratings.
ABC News two weeks ago had been all set to celebrate finally breaking Nightly News’ 285-week total-viewer winning streak, only to have its party canceled when NBC’s final stats dropped with those additional viewers factored in. Surprised by the additional eyeballs, ABC fell behind NBC, by just 11,000 viewers, and had to scrub its victory announcement.
Today, as last week, ABC included a note about NBC’s numbers in its weekly evening news ratings release:
NOTE: *NBC’s stated averages include both its 6:30 p.m. E.T. airings and re-broadcasts on some stations between the hours of 2-4 a.m. E.T. NBC News has not publicly stated the markets in which the re-airs occur nor how many additional viewers they are claiming as a result.
ABC News and NBC News have been in a very tight evening news ratings race, and all eyes have been on Nightly News to see how the numbers would hold up with Brian Williams suspended and Lester Holt filling in since early February. NBC yanked Williams in February for six months, as it investigates questions about his versions of news events reported by the news division.
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