Thursday, April 16, 2009

If you sell NBC Programs, here's great news!

NBC's saving
grace: Everything else

Its ratings have certainly tumbled in primetime

By Toni Fitzgerald
Apr 16, 2009

NBC has seen its fortunes fall in primetime over the past five years, going from the No. 1 network to the No. 4. But in essentially every other daypart, it remains dominant.

During first quarter, NBC programs were No. 1 in late night, evening news, mornings and Sunday mornings, many of them by a large margin.

That’s all the more impressive considering NBC’s low ratings in primetime. It means that viewers are consciously switching over to NBC programming after tuning into other networks during primetime, where CBS dominates among total viewers and Fox among adults 18-49.

In several dayparts, NBC’s lead is even growing, due either to increases in its viewership or decreases for the competition.

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” upped its percentage lead over CBS’s “The Late Show with David Letterman” from 27 percent during first quarter 2008 to 39 percent in first quarter 2009, with an average 1.4 rating to the latter’s 1.1. That was due to ratings shrinkage for “Late Show” rather than “Tonight” growth.

NBC’s “Today” had its biggest first-quarter advantage over ABC’s “Good Morning America” since 2004, averaging a 4.4 household rating to the latter’s 3.5. “GMA” has seen its viewership dip this year.

On Sunday mornings, NBC’s “Meet the Press” maintained its dominance despite breaking in a new moderator, David Gregory, who had his first full quarter with the show following last summer’s death of Tim Russert.

“Press” averaged 4.15 million viewers, 25 percent more than second-place “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” despite the latter registering its best first quarter in a decade.

Finally, NBC’s “Nightly News” remained ahead in first quarter thanks to year-to-year viewership gains.

What’s remarkable about NBC’s daypart supremacy is that the network has not lost any ground since its primetime lineup began slipping. Fewer primetime viewers means less chance to promote its other properties, such as a big Matt Lauer interview on “Today” or a special episode of “Tonight Show.”

Yet while the network’s primetime has lost its must-see status, its dayparts supremacy hasn’t been threatened. “Press,” “Today” and “Tonight” have all won at least 46 straight quarters.

The network could be getting a boost from cross-promotion on its cable news networks, which are having strong years. MSNBC just finished ahead of CNN in primetime for the first time last month, and CNBC has seen ratings gains from the economic meltdown.

pah note: Please follow the link listed above for some great ratings info about the current strength of NBC programming.

No comments: