Nightly News Ratings: ABC Is #1, Because Of One Third Of One Percent

By Brian 

This post replaces the 11:17am titled “ABC Beats NBC In Total Viewers & 25-54 Demographic.”

What a difference 0.33% makes. “Due to the President’s evening news conference on Thursday, April 28, 2005, ‘NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams’ had just 89% coverage, but according to Nielsen Media Research data, the lower-than-normal daily number will still be included in this week’s average,” a network press release says. “Coverage must be a full 10 coverage points or more below the season to date average in order for Nielsen to label a breakout.” Because NBC’s normal coverage season-to-date is 99.07%, and that is only 9.67 percentage points below normal, NBC’s Thursday broadcast is included in the weekly average.

ABC, meanwhile, had 81% coverage for World News Tonight, so Nielsen labeled it as a breakout. “Therefore their lower number will not count in their weekly average. As a result, ABC does not have a lower number averaged into their weekly ratings as NBC does,” according to NBC’s press release. The conclusion: “Had Thursday been taken out of NBC’s weekly average, the broadcast would have been top rated.”

But alas, ABC is officially #1 for the week of April 25 to 29. “This marks the first time since the week of May 24, 2004 World News Tonight was the #1 newscast in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54,” ABC’s press release says. Here are the numbers, in total viewers and the 25-54 demo:

ABC: 8,890,000 / 2.4/10

NBC: 8,780,000 / 2.3/10

CBS: 6,850,000 / 1.9/8

> Also: In the first five weeks of the second quarter, WNT is steady in Total Viewers and up +2% in the 25-54 demo compared to same period one year ago. Nightly News is down -7% in both Total Viewers and A25-54, ABC says.