June 9, 2013

How Odd: Media Bistro Says ABC Evening News Had Year-Over-Year Gains, When Declines Were Across the Board

For the week of May 27, the Big Three networks’ evening news broadcasts declined, both compared to the previous week and the same week last year, and garnered an average combined daily audience of just under 20 million.

Somehow, Chris Ariens at Media Bistro apparently wasn’t looking at the same numbers his readers were when he did his post, and wrote the following while linking back to the related post from last year which contradicted what he wrote (bolds are mine; link is in original):

“NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” was the most-watched evening newscast for the final week of May. But only “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” grew both total viewers and younger viewers compared to the same week last year. Sawyer’s broadcast was up +2% in viewers and up +3% in the A25-54 demo.

“CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” showed the most growth among total viewers (+4%) but shed the most younger viewers (-9%). “Nightly News” was down too: -2% / -9%, respectively.

Every year-over-year percentage change Ariens cited was wrong:


- NBC was -5% and -13%, not -2% and -9%.
- ABC was -4% and -5%, not +2% and +3%.
- CBS was -1% and -11%, not +4% and-9%.

Since Ariens linked back to last year’s post containing the May 28, 2012 numbers noted above, I have to believe that the data wasn’t subsequently revised. If it was, I couldn’t find evidence of it. If there is such evidence, Ariens should have linked to it.

Now that I’ve presented what really happened, it’s clear that the evening newscasts, which have usually shown year-over-year audience increases through most of the past, took a sharp turn downward after Memorial Day. That post-Memorial Day downturn did not occur last year. Instead (numbers are not shown above), there was a slight uptick of 1.5% in the average daily total audience and of just over 4% in the 25-54 demo.

One will never know, but perhaps the decline is partially due to the fact that viewers looking for hard, credible news about what is happening to something near and dear to them — their privacy — knew that they weren’t going to get anything but warmed-over leftist and Obama administration talking points from Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, and Scott Pelley, and went to alternative center-right new media sources instead.

Let’s hope they stay away.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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