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The Uvalde, Texas school shooting, the Jan. 6 committee televised hearings and the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade were some of the top news stories in the second quarter of 2022—and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the top-rated newscast for daily coverage of those stories and others.
According to live plus same day data from Nielsen, World News Tonight averaged 7.9 million total viewers and 1.41million adults 25-54 in the second quarter of this year. That means ABC’s evening newscast has averaged the largest total audience of any evening newscast for 21 consecutive quarters—since Q2 2017 and for the 10th straight quarter in Adults 25-54—since Q2 2020.
That’s basically where the positives end. World News Tonight shed -11% in total viewers and -15% in adults 25-54 vs. the prior quarter (Q1 ’22), which featured continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Unless there’s a seismic event, Q2 ratings are traditionally down from Q1 ratings—and that trend remained true in 2022. World News Tonight also lost less than -1% in total viewers and -6% among adults 25-54 from the year-ago quarter (Q2 2021), as well as -2% in total viewers and -15% among adults 25-54 from Q2 2018.
TV news viewing on linear among Americans under 50 continues to decline on an annual basis, so the significant ratings decline we’re seeing relative to 2018 isn’t particularly shocking.
Over on NBC, Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 6.5 million total viewers and 1.08 million from the key A25-54 demo in Q2 ’22. That’s more than CBS but less than ABC. Nightly News shed a larger percentage of its audience from Q1 than its competitors—down -17% in total viewers and -22% among adults 25-54. Nightly also fell -1% in total viewers and -11% among adults 25-54 from Q2 2021, as well as -14% in total viewers and -35% among adults 25-54 vs. Q2 2018.
Unlike ABC’s and CBS’ evening newscasts, NBC’s flagship newscast streams full episodes on YouTube and is able to garner some additional eyeballs that way (eyeballs which aren’t measured by Nielsen). On YouTube, Nightly’s full episodes reached an average of 745,000 video views and 584,000 video viewers in Q2 2022. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals—and the YouTube Analytics Portal.
Over on CBS, the Norah O’Donnell-fronted CBS Evening News averaged 4.68 million total viewers and 773,000 adults 25-54 in Q2. That’s a decline of -14% in total viewers and -16% among adults 25-54 from Q1 of this year. The newscast shed -5% in total viewers and -8% among adults 25-54 from the year-ago quarter, as well as -18% in total viewers and -34% among adults 25-54 from four years ago, when the newscast was anchored by Jeff Glor.
The three major evening newscasts averaged a combined 19.07 million total viewers in Q2 2022, a -14% change from Q1 ’22, a -2% decline from Q2 2021 and a -11% decline from the same quarter four years ago (Q2 2018).
The averages for Q2 2022:
|• Total Viewers:||7,896,000||6,495,000||4,681,000|
How about ratings for the final week of the quarter, which started June 20?
According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, World News Tonight with David Muir averaged 7.23 million total viewers and 1.30 million adults 25-54, making it once again the most-watched show (in total viewers) on U.S. TV, excluding sports, specials and syndicated programming. Additionally, ABC’s evening newscast has now defeated its competition from NBC and CBS 186 of the past 187 weeks in average total viewers—and 115 of the last 117 weeks among adults 25-54.
However, there’s a caveat: World News Tonight’s week of June 20 ratings averages are based on only a single day (Tuesday) due to another sports-heavy week for ABC. World News Tonight was retitled to “WNT-ABC” on Monday (6/20/22), Wednesday (6/22/22) and Friday (6/24/22) due to the Stanley Cup Finals, and on Thursday (6/23/22) due to the NBA draft.
How did the newscast fare against comparable weeks? World News Tonight lost -6% in total viewers but gained less than +1% in the adults 25-54 demo from the previous week. WNT shed -7% in total viewers and -11% among adults 25-54 from the same week in 2021 (June 21).
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 6.1 million total viewers on NBC this past week, which is down -5% from the previous week—and down -4% from the comparable week in 2021. NBC Nightly News also averaged 963,000 adults 25-54 this past week, which is -6% from the previous week—and down -19% from the comparable week in 2021.
Additionally, on YouTube, full episodes of NBC Nightly News reached 607,000 views and 435,000 viewers. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals; YouTube Analytics Portal.
The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.54 million total viewers and 744,000 adults 25-54 for the week of June 20. That’s -3% when it comes to total viewers—and a less than +1% gain in adults 25-54 from the previous week. Relative to the year-ago week, Evening News lost -4% in total viewers and -6% among adults 25-54.
Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of June 20, 2022:
|• Total Viewers:||7,231,000||6,098,000||4,541,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 6/20/22), Previous Week (w/o 6/13/22) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 6/21/21). Most Current: 2021-2022 Season (9/20/21 – 6/26/22) and 2020-2021 Season (9/21/20 – 6/27/21). Live+7/Most Current – 2Q22: 3/28 – 6/26/22, – 2Q21: 3/29 – 6/27/21 and 1Q22: 12/27/21 – 3/27/22. Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.