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'Today' Show Viewer Losses Not Confined to Women - Broadcasting & Cable

'Today' Show Viewer Losses Not Confined to Women

Double-digit percentages of men have also departed
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It's not only female viewers that have stopped watching NBC's
morning Today show within the past year. Male viewers have also departed
at almost the same percentages as women in the various demos, but the viewer
totals are less because there were less men watching to begin with.

In the year since reports first surfaced in April 2012 that
Ann Curry was going to be replaced as one of the Today cohosts, 18% of
male Today viewers in the 18-49 demo have stopped watching, 16% of male
viewers in the 25-54 demo have departed and 12% of men 55-plus left, according
to Nielsen data.

That compares to 19% of women 18-49 who stopped watching,
19% of women 25-54 and 6% of women 55-plus.

As far as viewer numbers go, among men 18-49, 116,000 have
stopped watching since April 2012, leaving the total number of men in the demo
at 501,000. Among men 25-54, 129,000 are no longer watching, leaving a male
audience in the demo of 656,000. Among men 55-plus, 126,000 have stopped
watching, leaving 916,000 men in that demo.

Among 18-49 females, 225,000 less were watching this April
compared to last April, reducing the total female audience in the demo to
975,000. Among women 25-54, 300,000 less are watching, leaving the female
audience in that demo at 1.3 million. While among women 55-plus, 100,000 have
departed since April 2012, leaving an audience in that demo of 1.6 million.

So has ABC's Good Morning America picked up male
viewers over the past year as a result of the Curry turmoil at NBC?

It has. GMA gained 3% more male viewers 18-49 since
April 2012, upping the demo total to 463,000. Among men 25-54, GMA has
picked up 8% more male viewers to push its total to 623,000. And among men
55-plus, GMA has added 13% more viewers to make its April 2012 total in
the demo 937,000, meaning GMA surpassed Today among men 55-plus.

How about the younger, millennial viewers? How have they
reacted to the Today show situation? Among all adults 18-34, Today
saw 16% of its audience in the demo defect, losing 79,000 viewers in the past
year to drop its total to 420,000. Meanwhile, GMA wound up picking up
hardly any of those younger viewers. It gained just 1% of viewers in the 18-34
demo from April to April, picking up 4,000 and boosting its total to 363,000 viewers.

Breaking it down even further, in the 12-17 demo, Today
actually increased its viewership by 10% to 71,000, while GMA remained
flat at 67,000. From an advertiser viewpoint, those numbers are basically
irrelevant, except that with the PR battle going on between Today and GMA
for total viewer supremacy, 4,000 viewers more in the short term can help Today
stay close in a tight battle.

The morning broadcast daypart, much like all the other
broadcast dayparts, have more women than men watching, although the ratio of
men to women on the morning shows is a lot closer than in the afternoon
broadcast daypart or even for many primetime shows. And marketers do want to
also reach a mass male audience on the broadcast networks when they can.

So the male audience losses for Today can be as
significant as the loss of female viewers, even though they are fewer in
number.

GMA is right on
the cusp of passing Today in male viewers in both the 18-49 and 25-54
demos. In April 2008, Today was averaging 225,000 more male viewers in
the 18-49 demo than GMA. By April 2013, that advantage was down to just
38,000. And in the male 25-54 demo, in 2008, Today was averaging 295,000
more men than GMA. This April, Today led GMA by only
33,000 in the demo.

Ann Curry is gone, her replacement Savannah Guthrie hasn't
been working out as successfully as the NBC brass had hoped, and Matt Lauer is taking
the public rap for Curry's replacement on the show-all of which leaves NBC
brass needing to consider what Today's host team should look like going
forward.

When they do, they need to figure into
the equation that even though about twice as many women as men are still
watching the Today show, it will be important to make sure whomever is
on the new host team is liked by male viewers as much as by women.

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