Pew Research report, the three evening newscasts drew a combined $518 million in advertiser expenditures in 2018, though that figure was down 6% from 2017, which marked the first time in six years that advertiser expenditures on the network newscasts declined.
ABC’s David Muir anchoring “World News Tonight”
Locked in a seemingly endless battle with NBC Nightly News for bragging rights as the nation’s top-rated evening newscast, ABC’s World News Tonight broke away—in a big way—on one of the biggest news nights in months. On the night Iran launched a missile attack on a U.S. military base in Iraq, viewers gave World News its biggest win over NBC in more than a decade, with a total audience of 9.972 million viewers—leading Nightly News (8.379 million) by more than 1.6 million viewers.
ABC also won the night among viewers 25-54, the demographic group most valued by advertisers, with 2.187 million. NBC followed with 1.704 million, giving ABC its largest single-day margin over NBC in the key demo in five years.
On the week, ABC took its fourth weekly win in a row, beating NBC among total viewers (World News had 9.709 million to Nightly News’ 8.540 million) and in the key demo (ABC led with 2.039 million to NBC’s 1.827 million), according to ratings data compiled by Nielsen.
New York, NEW YORK- NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt. Credit: Celeste Sloman for The Washington … [+]Post via Getty Images
The Washington Post via Getty Images
Is this a sign the two broadcasts—which have both claimed to be “number one,” with one network winning among total viewers and the other in the key demo—may finally be entering a new phase with one dominant newscast? ABC says World News is the only evening newscast to post gains year-over-year and week-over-week among total viewers and among viewers 25-54, and the network boasts that for the season to date, ABC is the most-watched in both key metrics for the first time in 24 years.
For the networks, ratings points—even for a legacy product like the broadcast evening newscast, which debuted in the 1950’s—translate into significant dollars. According to a recent Pew Research report, the three evening newscasts drew a combined $518 million in advertiser expenditures in 2018, though that figure was down 6% from 2017, which marked the first time in six years that advertiser expenditures on the network newscasts declined.