There was a split decision in the morning show ratings race for 2017-2018 season. ABC’s Good Morning America finished No. 1 in total viewers, while NBC’s Today held up as the No. 1 show among adults 25-54.
But each of the programs (including CBS This Morning) had one thing in common, and it’s something that’s been happening for the morning shows in recent years: Audience losses.
According to the most current data from Nielsen, GMA, Today and CBS This Morning averaged a combined 11.542 million total viewers in the 2017-2018 season. That’s -636,000 from the 12.178 million viewer average for 2016-2017 (-5 percent).
The 12.178 million average for the three morning shows in 2016-2017 happens to be -717,000 from the 12.895 million who watched in 2015-2016. (-6 percent). And the 12.895 million who watched the three morning shows in 2015-2016 is -353,000 (or -3 percent) from the 13.248 million who watched the big three in 2014-2015 (see a trend here?)
GMA averaged roughly 4.15 million total viewers for the 2017-2018 season, making it the most-watched weekday morning show for the 6th consecutive season. The ABC morning show also cut its season margin with Today in the key A25-54 demo by 18 percent. That said, GMA was -6 percent in total viewers, and -9 percent in A25-54 viewers vs. its 2016-2017 season average.
NBC’s Today defeated GMA in the key A25-54 demo for the 3rd consecutive season, and narrowed the total viewer gap with GMA versus the previous season by double digits. But the program was -3 percent in total viewers, and -10 percent in A25-54 viewers vs. its 2016-2017 season average.
CBS This Morning finished a distant third this past season. The 3.32 million viewer average is up from CTM’s first few years on the air, and a number far larger than what CBS ever generated in the morning prior to CTM’s launch. But CBS This Morning is now experiencing a steeper ratings drop off than its competitors. The program was -7 percent in total viewers, and -13 percent in demo viewers this past season vs. 2016-2017. The absence of Charlie Rose is likely a significant reason for that.
These steep declines also seem to be the case for CBS in the evenings…
|• Total Viewers:||4,153,000||4,073,000||3,316,000|
For the 3rd quarter of 2018, GMA remained No. 1 in total viewers, beating Today by +141,000 to win the 3rd quarter for the 2nd year a row and for the 5th time in the last 6 years. But the broadcast was -4 percent in total viewers, and -12 percent in A25-54 viewers vs. what it delivered in Q3 2017.
Today ranked No. 1 in the A25-54 demo for the 12th consecutive quarter (1.23 million vs. 1.12 million), and also increased its A25-54 lead over GMA vs. Q3 2017 by +15 percent. But like its rival, it fell from the same quarter last year (-4 percent in total viewers and -12 percent in demo viewers).
CBS This Morning was -12 percent in total viewers, and -15 percent in A25-54 demo viewers vs. Q3 2017. This is an odd trend considering CTM was slightly up in Q3 2017 from its Q3 2016 delivery.
|• Total Viewers:||3,864,000||3,723,000||2,920,000|
For the week of Sept. 17, GMA finished No. 1 in total viewers, out-performing Today by +149,000 viewers, which is +3 percent more than its margin of victory this same week in 2017 (+149,000 vs. +145,000). On the downside, the broadcast was -5 percent in total viewers and -14 percent in A25-54 demo viewers vs. the comparable week in 2017 (Sept. 18)
Today ranked No. 1 in the key A25-54 demo this past week, marking 143 straight weeks at No. 1, its best streak in over six years. Compared to the same week last season, Today A25-54 demo lead over GMA rose by +31 percent. Today also won Monday across the board, undoubtedly aided by the network’s broadcast of the Emmys that night. But the broadcast was -6 percent in total viewers and -10 percent in demo viewers.
Lastly, CTM was -14 percent in total viewers and -16 percent in demo viewers this past week vs. the comparable week in 2017.
Week of Sept. 17, 2018:
|• Total Viewers:||4,035,000||3,886,000||2,994,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD weeks of 9/17/18, and 9/18/17. Most Current: 2017-2018 Season (9/25/17 – 9/23/18) and 2016-2017 Season (9/19/16 – 9/24/17). Most Current – 3Q18: 7/2 – 9/23/18. 2Q18: 4/2 – 7/1/18. 3Q17: 6/26 – 9/24/17. Averages based on regular telecasts.