At Media Bistro earlier today, the news about the combined average total audience for the Big Three TV networks’ evening news was grim enough, coming in at a combined 20.15 million (NBC, 7.52 million; ABC, 7.14 million; CBS, 5.49 million).
But the news about the audience in the key 25-54 demographic was, from what I can tell, either an all-time low or darned close to it. I couldn’t find an example of one that was lower in searches through previous overall audience low points covered in prior posts at NewsBusters and or my home blog. Last week and other weeks which were almost as low in the 25-54 deme follow the jump:
- 5/14/12 — 5.42 million (NBC, 2.04 million; ABC, 1.83 million; CBS, 1.55 million)
- 5/18/09 – 5.52 million (NBC, 2.09 million; ABC, 1.92 million; CBS, 1.51 million)
- 5/3/10 – 5.68 million (NBC, 2.18 million; ABC, 1.97 million; CBS, 1.53 million)
- 3/29/10 — 5.71 million (NBC, 2.26 million; ABC, 1.89 million; CBS, 1.56 million)
- 4/12/10 — 5.81 million (NBC, 2.31 million; ABC, 1.94 million; CBS, 1.56 million)
Since advertising rates are largely driven by the 25-54 demo audience, the cratering in that group is especially hurtful.
What I wrote almost six years ago about the networks, the evening news programs and those who produce and broadcast them still seems to hold true:
All three nightly broadcasts most likely lose money, when isolated from their morning counterparts (Today, Good Morning America, CBS Morning Show) and their documentary shows (Dateline, 60 Minutes, 20/20, etc.). At a minimum, none makes an acceptable level of profit.
BUT, the news operations of each of the Big 3 networks are very small parts of very large organizations … so small that apparently no one at any of the three parent companies cares enough to do anything about the continued hemorrhaging in their evening new shows, as long as the news operations themselves are profitable.
So because those other parts of the news operations make money, the nightly news programs can chug right along, oblivious to normal profitability expectations.
The journalists who put together the nightly news programs could care less if the broadcasts are profitable. It’s obvious that their agenda is more important.
Because of all of the above, the ever-shrinking audience for these broadcasts will be spoon-fed biased reporting … and conservative-bashing for the foreseeable future.
As long as all of this continues to hold true, may the hemorrhaging at the outposts of Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, and Scott Pelley continue.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.