Inside the Morning-Show Wars: How NBC’s ‘Today’ Is Gaining on ABC’s 'GMA' - Broadcasting & Cable

Inside the Morning-Show Wars: How NBC’s ‘Today’ Is Gaining on ABC’s 'GMA'

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Millions of Americans turn on the tube at around 7:00 AM each weekday morning. Some want to be entertained, some want to be informed, others want a mix. What was once a block dominated by NBC's Today, (the show was #1 among the morning shows for 852 consecutive weeks from December 1995 until April of 2012), the competition between the big broadcast morning shows has intensified in recent years. ABC's Good Morning America, in particular, has made a push to the top. How did this move happen?  Cast changes? Content shift? Did this happen overnight, or was the Today decline / GMA ascent a long time coming? And it's important not to forget CBS This Morning, which garners a significant viewership base of its own. Let's check in with these three heavyweight morning news shows and perhaps the numbers can tell us who is thriving and who might need to re-invent themselves yet again.

Last Week's Numbers: GMA vs. Today vs. CBS This Morning (Live+SD)

The below shows the average ratings from this past week (Mon - Fri). It's important to note that GMA runs from 7 AM - 9AM. CBS This Morning also runs from 7 AM - 9 AM. Today runs from 7 AM - 10 AM.

<p>Measurement Interval</p><p>Originator</p><p>Program</p><p>Common Start Time</p><p>Reported Duration</p><p>P 18-49 Rtg%</p><p>P 18-49 Proj (000s)</p><p>P 25-54 Rtg%</p><p>P 25-54 Proj (000s)</p><p>P 55+ Rtg %</p><p>P 55+ Proj (000s)</p><p>P 2+ Proj (000s)</p>

09/15/2014 - 09/19/2014 (All)

ABC

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

07:00 AM

72

1.18

1493

1.76

2104

3.66

3073

5467

09/15/2014 - 09/19/2014 (All)

CBS

CBS THIS MORNING-1

07:00 AM

25

0.57

728

0.89

1066

2.16

1813

3036

09/15/2014 - 09/19/2014 (All)

CBS

CBS THIS MORNING-2

07:25 AM

54

0.45

569

0.70

837

2.24

1877

2834

09/15/2014 - 09/19/2014 (All)

NBC

TODAY SHOW

07:00 AM

73

1.19

1507

1.54

1841

2.98

2504

4611

09/15/2014 - 09/19/2014 (All)

NBC

TODAY SHOW II

09:00 AM

49

0.65

831

0.85

1014

2.24

1882

3021

Last week, the first two-hour block of Today eeked out a victory over GMA and CBS This Morning, averaging 1.51 million viewers in the P 18-49. GMA averaged 1.49 million viewers in its 7-9am telecast while CBS This Morning averaged somewhere in the mid six-figures.The final hour of Today only averaged 831,000 viewers in the key demo.As previously mentioned, Today airs from 7-10am Mon through Fri while GMA and CBS This Morning only air from 7-9am Mon through Fri.

The story was a bit different in P 25-54, the demo ABC and CBS like to consider the "core" morning show demo. NBC, a network was skews younger across most dayparts, may disagree. GMA averaged 2.1 million viewers in the demo, while Today averaged around 1.8 - 1.9 million. The numbers are higher in this demo for CBS This Morning as well. Hour 1 averaged almost 1.1 million viewers in the demo, while hour two grabbed 837,000.

GMA and CBS This Morning really do the most damage in the older demos. GMA averages about 3.1 million 55+ viewers, while Today grabbed around 2.5 million. Interestingly, hour 2 of CBS This Morning averaged more viewers in this demo than hour 1 (1.8 vs. 1.9).

Lastly, GMA continued its lead over Today in average total viewers, grabbing almost 5.5 million P2+. Today's 7-9am block averaged over 4.6 million and, but dropped to 3 million from 9-10am. CBS This Morning sees an even distribution in terms of parts 1 and 2: 3 million vs. 2.8 million P2+.

GMA vs. Today vs. CBS This Morning 2014 to-Date (Month-by-Month)

Below shows how the networks have stacked up against each other this year on a month-by-month basis. One can sort by month, program, or demo impressions.

<p>Month</p><p>Program</p><p>P 18-49 Proj (000s)</p><p>P 25-54 Proj (000s)</p><p>P 55+ Proj (000s)</p><p>P 2+ Proj (000s)</p>

JANUARY, 2014

GMA

1607

2363

3265

5942

JANUARY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

878

1220

1927

3322

JANUARY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

711

1000

1887

3040

JANUARY, 2014

TODAY

1707

2128

2614

5086

JANUARY, 2014

TODAY II

1090

1363

2403

4025

FEBRUARY, 2014

GMA

1628

2343

3249

5939

FEBRUARY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

990

1349

1956

3503

FEBRUARY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

777

1045

1978

3207

FEBRUARY, 2014

TODAY

1910

2367

3080

5830

FEBRUARY, 2014

TODAY II

1150

1446

2680

4396

MARCH, 2014

GMA

1617

2316

3235

5860

MARCH, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

852

1185

1929

3271

MARCH, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

644

906

1899

2948

MARCH, 2014

TODAY

1722

2154

2724

5214

MARCH, 2014

TODAY II

936

1173

2219

3577

APRIL, 2014

GMA

1558

2208

3199

5705

APRIL, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

800

1157

2030

3343

APRIL, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

611

872

1940

2947

APRIL, 2014

TODAY

1600

1995

2658

4918

APRIL, 2014

TODAY II

857

1086

1982

3206

MAY, 2014

GMA

1572

2140

3171

5648

MAY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

772

1138

2172

3451

MAY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

606

891

2007

3039

MAY, 2014

TODAY

1600

2023

2660

4934

MAY, 2014

TODAY II

786

991

1876

3006

JUNE, 2014

GMA

1379

1893

3017

5205

JUNE, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

626

1002

2023

3138

JUNE, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

523

785

1947

2855

JUNE, 2014

TODAY

1338

1715

2593

4484

JUNE, 2014

TODAY II

761

984

1812

2941

JULY, 2014

GMA

1281

1779

2856

4859

JULY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

611

925

1873

2877

JULY, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

526

762

1914

2760

JULY, 2014

TODAY

1235

1558

2418

4138

JULY, 2014

TODAY II

744

965

1832

2949

AUGUST, 2014

GMA

1298

1827

2901

4946

AUGUST, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

669

1000

1853

2963

AUGUST, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

556

818

1837

2756

AUGUST, 2014

TODAY

1285

1623

2467

4299

AUGUST, 2014

TODAY II

775

971

1829

2951

SEPTEMBER, 2014

GMA

1460

2046

3085

5434

SEPTEMBER, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

682

1043

1887

3060

SEPTEMBER, 2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

554

865

1893

2870

SEPTEMBER, 2014

TODAY

1499

1825

2528

4638

SEPTEMBER, 2014

TODAY II

800

987

1876

2999

In 2014, Today  won the 18-49 demo from January - May. GMA took the P 18-49 in June, July and August, but Today has taken back #1 in P 18-49 this month to-date.

GMA has taken P 25-54, 55+ and average total viewers P2+ eight of nine months this year. The exception was February, when Today moved ahead of GMA in P 25-54. This may have happened with help from Winter Olympics coverage.

Looking at P2+ (000) for each program on a monthly basis, GMA saw a decline in average total viewership from January through July. Numbers picked back up in August and September to-date.

The CBS This Morning numbers have been a bit inconsistent. The summer was a bit quieter than the first half of the year, but average total viewership has picked back up the past couple months.

Today saw a significant increase from January to February, then a decrease the up until this month.

 Yearly Averages (2011 - Present)

One can sort by year, program or demo:

<p>Measurement Interval</p><p>Program</p><p>P 18-49 Rtg %</p><p>P 18-49 Proj (000s)</p><p>P 25-54 Rtg %</p><p>P 25-54 Proj (000s)</p><p>P 55+ Rtg%</p><p>P 55+ Proj (000s)</p><p>P 2+ Proj (000s)</p>

2012

CBS THIS MORNING-1

0.68

865

1.00

1198

1.86

1416

2753

2013

CBS THIS MORNING-1

0.68

856

1.00

1189

2.21

1756

3119

2014

CBS THIS MORNING-1

0.60

761

0.93

1109

2.39

1962

3210

2012

CBS THIS MORNING-2

0.48

613

0.71

855

1.82

1390

2343

2013

CBS THIS MORNING-2

0.52

659

0.77

920

2.16

1718

2761

2014

CBS THIS MORNING-2

0.48

609

0.73

877

2.34

1921

2929

2011

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

1.06

1379

1.49

1839

3.57

2686

4792

2012

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

1.11

1415

1.59

1903

3.64

2771

4926

2013

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

1.13

1432

1.70

2021

3.96

3139

5451

2014

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

1.17

1483

1.75

2092

3.78

3102

5486

2011

TODAY SHOW

1.47

1910

1.99

2447

3.59

2701

5428

2012

TODAY SHOW

1.23

1571

1.72

2067

3.37

2562

4887

2013

TODAY SHOW

1.19

1512

1.63

1944

3.16

2504

4718

2014

TODAY SHOW

1.21

1539

1.61

1928

3.22

2642

4835

2011

TODAY SHOW II

0.80

1044

1.06

1301

2.76

2076

3555

2012

TODAY SHOW II

0.70

894

0.95

1137

2.61

1986

3280

2013

TODAY SHOW II

0.69

873

0.94

1119

2.49

1980

3271

2014

TODAY SHOW II

0.69

871

0.92

1100

2.49

2045

3318

CBS This Morning continues to skew older. It has seen its numbers in the P 18-49 demo decline on an annual basis since 2012. The same is the case when it comes to P 25-54. That being said, 55+ and average total viewership (P2+) has increased on an annual basis since 2012.

Good Morning America has seen its P 18-49 ratings / impressions and P 25-54 ratings/impressions increase on an annual basis since 2011. The 55+ viewership decreased from 2011 to 2012, bumped up again in 2013 and has decreased a bit in 2014, but nothing super significant. And as has been well publicized, GMA's average total viewership has increased on an annual basis since 2011.

Today saw numbers decrease in P 18-49 from 2011 to 2013. Numbers have improved again in 2014. Today dominated GMA in this demo, but the gap has narrowed in recent years. In terms of P 25-54, GMA trailed Today in 2011 and 2012, but pulled ahead in 2013 and maintains a slight lead in 2014. Today has seen P 25-54 impressions decrease annually since 2011. Today led GMA in average total viewers (P2+) in 2011, but took over in 2012 and hasn't looked back, despite Today's improvement in 2014.

Day of Week Analysis (2014 to-Date)

Which is the most popular day of the week for each program?

<p>Day of Week</p><p>Program</p><p>P 2+ Proj (000s)</p>

MONDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-1

3262

TUESDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-1

3266

WEDNESDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-1

3191

THURSDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-1

3200

FRIDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-1

3135

MONDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-2

2993

TUESDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-2

2932

WEDNESDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-2

2950

THURSDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-2

2885

FRIDAY

CBS THIS MORNING-2

2892

MONDAY

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

5502

TUESDAY

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

5580

WEDNESDAY

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

5508

THURSDAY

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

5406

FRIDAY

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

5437

MONDAY

TODAY SHOW

4884

TUESDAY

TODAY SHOW

4844

WEDNESDAY

TODAY SHOW

4873

THURSDAY

TODAY SHOW

4815

FRIDAY

TODAY SHOW

4762

MONDAY

TODAY SHOW II

3469

TUESDAY

TODAY SHOW II

3261

WEDNESDAY

TODAY SHOW II

3307

THURSDAY

TODAY SHOW II

3262

FRIDAY

TODAY SHOW II

3291

For CBS This Morning, part 1 it's Tuesday. For part 2, it's Monday. For GMA, it's Tuesday. For Today, it's Monday. Fewer viewers tune in during the latter stages of the week than during the former.

Median Age / Gender Skew (2014 to-Date)

<p>Program</p><p>P2+ Est. Median Age</p><p>P 2+ Proj (000s)</p><p>M 2+ Proj (000s)</p><p>F 2+ Proj (000s)</p><p>Male viewership %</p><p>Female viewership %</p>

GOOD MORNING, AMERICA

57.6

5486

1900

3586

34.6%

65.4%

CBS THIS MORNING-1

59.4

3210

1430

1780

44.5%

55.5%

CBS THIS MORNING-2

62.0

2929

1277

1651

43.6%

56.4%

TODAY SHOW

56.9

4835

1826

3008

37.8%

62.2%

TODAY SHOW II

60.0

3318

1100

2218

33.2%

66.8%

Each of the morning shows have a female skew. The 9A - 10A hour of Today has the most extreme skew, while GMA is right behind it. CBS This Morning has a more even viewership when it comes to gender distribution (55%/45%). It's conceivable this may be due to the presence of figures like Charlie Rose and the "newsier" nature of the program, whereas GMA and Today have been described as "infotainment" programs. Secondly, as one might expect, the 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM block of Today has the youngest median age of the morning shows, but not by much. CBS This Morning has the oldest median age.

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