Nielsen, networks conflict on stats displaying fewer viewers

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NEW YORK (AP) — Folks have been caught at dwelling for a yr attributable to COVID-19 restrictions, with film theaters closed, live performance venues closed, eating places closed, sports activities attendance restricted — but tv viewing is down?

That is not sensible to networks and cable and satellite tv for pc suppliers, who’re complaining that the Nielsen firm is inaccurately counting how many individuals are literally watching.

Nielsen’s reply, in a nutshell: the reality hurts.

It is an argument with monetary implications, since networks later this spring start promoting promoting for the subsequent yr. Fewer viewers equal fewer advert {dollars}.

By the commerce group Video Promoting Bureau, the networks are perplexed by Nielsen statistics that present the proportion of Individuals who watched their televisions at the very least a while in the course of the week declined from 92% in 2019 to 87% to this point this yr.

In addition to being counter-intuitive within the pandemic period, the VAB says that discovering runs counter to different proof, together with viewing measurements from set-top cable packing containers, the elevated quantity of streaming choices which have grow to be out there and a bounce in gross sales for tv units.

“We expect the market deserves much more readability,” mentioned Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of the VAB, on Tuesday.

The variety of households, significantly giant households, taking part in Nielsen measurements has dropped over the previous yr in percentages just like the lower in viewership, Cunningham mentioned. Nielsen acknowledges that its pattern dimension is smaller — the corporate is just not sending personnel into houses due to COVID-19 — however mentioned statistics are being weighted to account for the change.

Final week, for instance, common prime-time viewership on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox was down 16% from the identical week in 2020. The lower would have been steeper if not for the NCAA males’s basketball championship sport, which wasn’t held final yr.

After an preliminary spike in viewership when lockdowns took impact final spring, long-term tendencies taking individuals away from their units reasserted themselves, Nielsen mentioned.

Extra persons are spending time on tablets and smartphones, which are not measured by Nielsen. The podcast market is hovering. Sports activities on tv was interrupted. Attributable to manufacturing shutdowns, tv networks had been airing much more reruns, Nielsen mentioned.

“The media trade, similar to all others, wasn’t ready for the grand shift in day by day life that the pandemic pressured, seemingly in a single day,” Nielsen mentioned in a analysis paper responding to the VAB’s criticisms.

CBS was the most well-liked community final week, averaging 5.9 million viewers in prime time. NBC had 3.46 million, ABC had 3.45 million, Fox had 1.8 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million, Ion Tv had 1 million and the CW had 720,000.

Fox Information Channel led the cable networks, averaging 2.12 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.59 million, HGTV had 1.21 million, CNN had 1 million and TBS had 993,000.

ABC’s “World Information Tonight” gained the night information rankings race, averaging 8.2 million viewers final week. NBC’s “Nightly Information” had 6.6 million and the “CBS Night Information” had 4.9 million.

For the week of April 5-11, the 20 most-watched applications, their networks and viewerships:

1. NCAA Males’s Basketball Championship: Baylor vs. Gonzaga, CBS, 16.92 million.

2. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.26 million.

3. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.74 million.

4. “FBI,” CBS, 8.07 million.

5. “Younger Sheldon,” CBS, 6.95 million.

6. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 6.88 million.

7. “Chicago Hearth,” NBC, 6.65 million.

8. “FBI: Most Needed,” CBS, 6.44 million.

9. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.35 million.

10. “NCAA Basketball Pregame Present,” CBS, 6.21 million.

11. “American Idol,” ABC, 6.09 million.

12. “The Voice,” NBC, 6.02 million.

13. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 5.8 million.

14. “Magnum, P.I.,” CBS, 5.61 million.

15. “United States of Al,” CBS, 5.38 million.

16. “Mother,” CBS, 4.93 million.

17. “America’s Funniest House Movies,” ABC, 4.92 million.

18. “Regulation & Order: SVU,” NBC, 4.9 million.

19. “Station 19,” ABC, 4.87 million.

20. “Regulation & Order: Organized Crime,” NBC, 4.84 million.

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