ABC and NBC Each Claim Ratings Wins

By Chris Ariens Comment


If you believe ABC, “World News with Diane Sawyer” just won the second quarter of 2014 in the coveted A25-54 demo by a slim 16,000 viewers, or .8%.

If you believe NBC, “Nightly News with Brian Williams” was the winner, by an even slimmer 9,000 viewers, or .5%

Why the difference?

For its quarterly ratings, ABC uses a metric Nielsen calls “Most Current” data, which is a mix of Live+7 Day, as available through June 15, and Live+ Same Day for the remaining two weeks. NBC, meanwhile, is using the standard Live+ Same Day metric.

An ABC spokesperson tells us the network has been using the “Most Current” data for quarterly, sweeps months and season averages for ABC’s primetime, daytime and late night, as well as news programs including “World News,” “Nightline” and “Good Morning America,” since January 2006.

An NBC spokesperson tells TVNewser they don’t use the “Most Current” metric, but have always relied on Live+ Same Day data for their quarterly, sweeps months and season averages. NBC also points out that ads are sold on Live+ Same Day or the C3 metric, which tracks ratings for average commercial minutes in live programming plus three days of DVR playback. NBC adds that Live+ 7 Day is not common for news programs, which 95% of consumers view live. (CNN, which is moving away from all live news, would argue with this.)



In ABC’s world view, a win gives Diane Sawyer her first quarterly win since she took over the show in Dec. 2009. It will also be her last, as she is leaving the anchor chair next month.

In NBC’s view, a win gives “Nightly” its 25th consecutive quarter at #1 in the demo. “Nightly” won the quarter in Total Viewers, and grew its audience +3%. The show slipped -8% in the demo, making this the NBC News broadcast’s lowest quarterly delivery ever in the A25-54 demo, since at least 1991 – as far back as electronic records have been kept.

Compared to Q2 2013 “World News” was up +7% in the demo and up +5% in total viewers. The “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” posted its lowest Q2 demo number ever, since at least 1991, down -6% from Q2 2013. The show was up +2% in Total Viewers, however.