As has become the norm in recent years, there was a split decision in the evening news ratings race. ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was No. 1 in total viewers, while NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt was No. 1 among adults 25-54 for the 1st quarter of 2019.
World News Tonight earned its largest advantage over NBC and CBS in 23 years when it came to overall audience, averaging 9.32 million total viewers for the quarter. The ABC evening newscast has won the last 8 quarters in total viewers– since Q2 2017.
World News Tonight also slashed its margin with NBC Nightly News in the key A25-54 demo. The newscast was only -10,000 A25-54 viewers vs. NBC in Q1 2019. It was -121,000 A25-54 viewers vs. NBC in Q1 2018, a change of 92 percent.
Despite all the accolades, World News was actually -1 percent in total viewers and -1 percent in the key A25-54 vs. Q1 2018.
NBC Nightly News remained the No. 1 evening newscast among adults 25-54 for Q1, marking the newscast’s third consecutive quarterly win, and its 15th quarterly win in the last 16 quarters in the demo. The newscast has now won a Q1 among adults 25-54 for 11 straight years.
On the downside, Nightly was -2 percent in total viewers, and -6 percent in A25-54 viewers vs. its Q1 2018 delivery, and the newscast has been finishing second in the demo recently, as we’ll show below.
CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor was -4 percent in total viewers and -8 percent in A25-54 viewers vs. its Q1 2018 delivery.
Numbers for Q1 2019:
|• Total Viewers:||9,316,000||8,677,000||6,584,000|
ABC World News Tonight was the top evening newscast across the board for the week of March 25, averaging 8.13 million total viewers and 1.64 million A25-54 viewers.
World News has ranked No. 1 across the board for 5 of the past 6 weeks, which is no small feat.
In total viewers, World News Tonight marked its 26th weekly win out of the first 27 weeks of the current broadcast season, and is the most-watched evening newscast for three years running.
On the downside, ABC’s evening newscast was -5 percent in total viewers and -6 percent in A25-54 viewers vs. the comparable week in 2019.
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt posted more severe year-over-year losses than its competitors. The broadcast, which has seemed to lose a bit of traction lately (but is still No. 1 in the demo this season to-date), was -7 percent in total viewers and -16 percent in the key A25-54 vs. the comparable week in 2018.
CBS Evening News was -3 percent in total viewers, and -11 percent among adults 25-54 vs. the comparable week in 2018.
NOTE: “CBS Evening News” aired with low coverage and was retitled to “CBS-Evening-Nws” on Thursday (3/28/19 – 71%) and to “CBS-Evening-Nws 3/29” on Friday (3/29/19 – 73%) due to NCAA Basketball; ratings for both days are excluded from the averages. “CBS Evening News” averages are based on 3 days (Mon-Wed), while “World News Tonight” and “Nightly News” are based on 5 days.
Numbers for the week of Mar. 25, 2019:
|• Total Viewers:||8,126,000||7,671,000||5,974,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD, 2018-19 Current Week (w/o 3/25/19), and Year-Ago Week (w/o 3/26/18). Season to date: Most Current: 2018 -2019 Season (9/24/18 – 4/31/19) and 2017-2018 Season (9/25/18 – 4/1/18). Most Current – 1Q19: 12/31/18 – 3/31/19, 1Q18: 1/1/18 – 4/1/18, 4Q18: 9/24 – 12/30/18. Averages based on regular telecasts.