UPDATED with ABC News note on NBC News’ ratings: NBC Nightly News boasted it was the country’s most-watched evening newscast for the week of March 16 – its first weekly ratings report since word got out it is picking up extra eyeballs by re-airing Lester Holt’s 6:30 PM broadcast in the wee hours in 10 markets.
Unlike last week – when ABC had been poised to celebrate finally breaking Nightly News’ 285 consecutive week total-viewer winning streak, only to have its party canceled when NBC’s final stats dropped with those additional viewers factored in – today’s ratings reports do not indicate ABC might have won the week had NBC News not added in the early-morning stats. The weekly stats show NBC with its biggest with total-viewer lead over ABC in six weeks with the NBC newscast widening its lead over ABC in both total viewers (from last week’s tiny 11,000 viewer edge, to 561,000) and 18-49 viewers (from 43,000 to 61,000).
Even so, ABC included the following note in its ratings news release today:
NOTE: *NBC’s stated averages now 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.
And, last week’s revelation may temper reporters’ enthusiasm for NBC’s claim its newscast is up 5% week to week, and had widened its lead over ABC by 550,000 viewers. The re-airs count into the official Nielsen Live+Same Day numbers in the same way as do delayed viewings on DVR or VOD.
And, while Nielsen may have given a thumbs up to NBC’s ratings-boosting strategy, advertisers may be pushing back. According to informed sources, some advertisers are less than thrilled to learn they’ve bought time in a program whose numbers are being hit with the mixing in of insomniacs.
According to Nielsen Media Research data, the NBC broadcast finished last week ranked No. 1 in total viewers and the younger demo of adults 18-49, but fell behind ABC’s David Muir-anchored newscast in the all-important news demo by 6,000 viewers. NBC’s newscast clocked 8.518 total viewers; ABC averaged 7.957 million and CBS 6.930 million, but CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley is the only newscast showing an overall-viewer increase compared to same week last year.
NBC’s tally included 1.941 million news-demo viewers, behind ABC’s 1.935 million; CBS averaged 1.538 million.
With its streak intact, season-to-date, NBC Nightly News remains the No. 1 evening news broadcast in total viewers and all key demographics. Nightly now has been No. 1 in total viewers for 287 consecutive weeks and 330 of the last 331 weeks.
CBS newscast numbers are based on a three-day average (Mon-Wed) due to the NCAA basketball tournament coverage.