Wednesday, December 27, 2006

TV News Ratings -- Katie Couric Doing Just Fine

Here are the latest trends for TV news, all of which prove how very difficult it is to get viewers to change their life-long habits. My mom, for example, has always watched "Good Morning, America" and wouldn't miss Diane Sawyer to save her life. The same is true for viewers of evening news. Even though Tom Brokaw is gone, they've been getting used to Brian Williams for years and they ALWAYS turn to NBC at 6:30 and that doesn't change very easily. For the morning shows, these are the ratings average from mid-September to mid-December:

The Today Show -- 5.78 million viewers
Good Morning, America -- 4.95 million
The Early Show -- 2.77 million

GMA remains roughly 800,000 viewers behind "Today," despite Couric and Charlie Gibson leaving for the nightly news slot. All of them are down a little, "Today" least of all. That's new, since the viewership for morning news has been growing in the last couple of years.

Now here's the evening news:

NBC Nightly News -- 9.01 million viewers
ABC World News -- 8.45 million
CBS Evening News -- 7.54 million

Now here's the real news. Of all six shows, in every category (total viewers, ratings, adults 25-54), Katie Couric's Evening News on CBS is the only one to increase in ANY category. It grew slightly in total viewers (+1 percent, compared to NBC down 8 percent and ABC down 2 percent) and grew strongly in the key category of adults 25-54 by 5 percent, compared to NBC's drop of 12 percent and ABC's drop of 8 percent. Now some of that reflects the inflated numbers from her fist two weeks and massive media attention. But any way you slice it, that's good news. Couric moved the needle and has some momentum to build on. These figures are per MediaWeek's Marc Berman's daily email and is not posted online.

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