Beyond Primetime: Insights Into Vital Fourth-Quarter Ratings Battles - Broadcasting & Cable

Beyond Primetime: Insights Into Vital Fourth-Quarter Ratings Battles

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Advertisers
who buy time in late-night entertainment shows such as The Late Show with
David Letterman
and TheTonight Show with Jay Leno are
usually not all the same advertisers who buy commercials on ABC's Nightline.
Different program genres, you know. But maybe they should be.

Not
only does Nightline average more total viewers but it also averages
about 100,000 more viewers in the advertiser-desired 18-49 demo. That might not
be much more, but it's enough to prove that Nightline
is not an older-skewing show. As far as median age, Nightline is
actually a year younger at 57 than Tonight but two years older than The
Late
Show. The point is, there is no reason why a late-night news
viewer should be less desirable to advertisers of any products than a
comedy/talk show viewer, particularly if the news show has better ratings.

Head-to-head,
Nightline averaged more adult 18-49
viewers than Tonight for the first time during a fourth-quarter in
18 years, pulling in 85,000 more viewers per night in the demo. Nightline
also averaged 185,000 more viewers nightly than Tonight in
fourth-quarter and averaged 619,000 viewers more than The Late Show.
Overall, Nightline averaged 3.9 million viewers a night, compared to 3.7
million for Tonight and 3.2 for The Late Show.

And
the Nightline lead-in to ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live helped that show
grow its audience by 5 percent to 1.8 million to give it a 15% audience
lead over CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which saw its
fourth-quarter audience decline by 11% to 1.5 million. With its viewer
declines, The Late Late Show is now third in the head-to-head battle
with Kimmel and NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which is
averaging 1.7 million viewers. And in late late night, when the demo ratings
get tiny, total viewers matter to advertisers.

* * * * *

CBS is
expanding its Sunday morning public affairs show Face The Nation
from a half-hour to an hour at the perfect time: with the show on a viewer
upswing. Clearly the main goal of the network in making the change is to garner
more advertising time to sell during the presidential election year.

Viewers
of the morning broadcast news shows have a high likelihood of voting come
election day, so these shows become favorable ad destinations for candidate
campaign dollars, as well as Political Action Committee advocacy
dollars. And with Super PAC fundraising unlimited and anonymous now,
there will be plenty of additional ad dollars to be spent.

NBC's Meet
the Press
still gets the most viewers, averaging 2.9 million per telecast,
but the show is averaging 200,000 less than last year at this point, and its A25-54
demo rating is down 13%. Conversely, Face theNation is averaging
140,000 more viewers and its 25-54 demo rating is up 33%.

ABC's This
Week,
which recently replaced host Christiane Amanpour with George
Stephanopoulos thanks to sagging ratings, is averaging 2.2 million viewers,
flat with last year but significantly down from when Amanpour took over. Fox
News Sunday
is fourth among the Sunday morning broadcast network news
shows, averaging 1.16 million viewers, down 400,000 but flat in A 25-54.

Not
wanting NBC and CBS to get too much of a leg up on Sunday, ABC
brought back former This Week producer Jon Banner, who worked at
the show when Stephanopoulos first became host in 2002, before leaving
in 2010 to become co-anchor of Good
Morning America
. Banner was producer of ABC's World News Tonight
until September when he left to take on a broader role at ABC News. Ben
Sherwood, ABC News president, said Stephanopoulos and Banner "share an
editorial vision for the broadcast and when they teamed up last they steadily
expanded the program's audience. As partners again, I am confident they will
produce excellent results."

* * * * *

CBS' mom-targeted
daytime show, The Talk, which premiered in Oct. 2010; and ABC's food and
cooking talk show, The Chew, which debuted in Sept. 2011, have virtually
the same ratings numbers this season. They both have a median age audience of
58. The Talk is averaging 2.01 million viewers, while The Chew is
averaging 2.15 million. They are both averaging 0.7 ratings among viewers
18-49. The Chew is averaging a 1.0 25-54 ratings, while The Talk
is averaging a 0.9 in that demo.

As for
the co-host changes made by The Talk, it doesn't seem like they've
made much difference.

Prior
to this season, The Talk dropped two original cohosts, Leah Remini and
Holly Robinson Peete, replacing them with Sheryl Underwood and Aisha Taylor.
Season-to-date through fourth quarter compared to last season, The Talk
is down about 100,000 viewers and down 0.1 of a ratings point in both viewers
18-49 and viewers 25-54. Those aren't huge declines but they're also not the
gains everyone might have hoped for. And from an advertiser point of view, the
median age audience of both shows is not much different than the audiences of
the soap operas each replaced. . . then again, they are cheaper to
produce.

It's
not like the two networks are passing the lower production costs on to
advertisers. With ratings about the same as the soaps, advertisers are probably
paying similar cost per thousand rates. One thing some advertisers might like
about The Talk and The Chew: product integration
opportunities on the shows. Each show has been careful not to overdo it, and
there is a limited amount of these types of opportunities, but they're there.

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