Neither NBC nor Nielsen ever detailed exactly how many viewers were added to the network’s newscast by factoring in those pre-dawn repeats of NBC Nightly News.
(Even with those additional viewers, NBC logged 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 its 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 because media buyers asked the network to stop running their clients’ ads in those rebroadcasts. 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 had been all set to celebrate finally breaking Nightly News’ 285-week total-viewer winning streak a few weeks ago, 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.