As the evening news ratings race tightens, one network is calling out another over issues of transparency.
As we told you last week, NBC has been re-airing “Nightly News” in 10 markets between 2 and 4am local time. The markets are Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, Cleveland, St. Louis, Portland, Charlotte, Buffalo and Knoxville. Those markets represent about 12% of national coverage. While there is no Nielsen rule against this, ABC complains that NBC is not being transparent about how the re-broadcasts — which began in early February — factor into their weekly average; by one count adding 70,000 viewers. Without those overnight airings, “World News Tonight” would likely have won the week of March 9 in total viewers, something ABC hasn’t accomplished in 6 years.
The ABC News press release makes clear what the NBC News press release doesn’t:
An NBC insider says there’s no reason to mention the overnight airings, since none of the networks mention DVR or VOD numbers either. NBC also takes issue with ABC’s use of the phrase “NBC’s stated averages.” They are not NBC’s averages, they are Nielsen’s, the NBC insider argues.