Nielsen challengers Comscore, iSpot and VideoAmp were granted conditional certification as currency for buying and selling advertising by the U.S. Joint Industry Committee (JIC) set up by media companies to set modern standards for audience measurement in a multiplatform environment.
ABC’s share of Monday Night Football coverage this week averaged a cool 13 million total viewers and a 3.2 demo rating, up sharply from the preliminary numbers (10M/2.1) for last week’s season opener.
Linear TV viewership made somewhat of a comeback in August after dropping to an all-time low in July, Nielsen reported in its latest monthly state of TV report. Combined viewing for broadcast and cable managed to eke back to 50.6% of total TV usage, with broadcast recording its first gain since January. Broadcast accounted for 20.4% of TV usage, which is a 1.4% gain month-over-month. As for cable, it recorded the largest monthly category across all three categories, ballooning 1.7%. Meanwhile streaming saw a bit of a decline to 38.3% but still remained the largest share of television for the month.
Sanitized-for-broadcast or not, a five-year-old Yellowstone episode put up solid numbers for CBS on Sunday night. Leading out of an NFL-delayed 60 Minutes season opener (which, per CBS, drew 11.4 million total viewers), the Kevin Costner drama’s XL series premiere averaged 6.6 million viewers.
Karthik Rao succeeds David Kenny at the top of the ratings firm as competition grows and measurement grows more complex.
ESPN rode its college football coverage to a big ratings win last week in both primetime and total day. The sports network averaged 3.1 million viewers in primetime during the week of Sept. 4-10 to end Fox News’ win streak on the chart at 10 weeks, according to Nielsen figures supplied by Fox News. ESPN was led by its Sept. 9 Texas-Alabama college football telecast, which generated 7.9 million viewers.
NBC Sunday Night Football’s Cowboys/Giants matchup of course dominated Sunday night with 16.4 million total viewers and a 4.9 demo rating — down 12% and 6% from the preliminary numbers for last year’s Bucs/Cowboys Sunday opener. The CW’s The Chosen, with its Season 2 premiere, dipped to an audience of 406,000, while posting a typical 0.0 rating.
The lack of viewership numbers used to feel like freedom, but as streaming evolves to look more like traditional television, creators want to peek behind the curtain.
Fox scored a record audience with its broadcast of Colorado’s win against TCU on Saturday. The football game, which was watched by nearly 7.3M people, was the most-watched telecast of the day on any network. It also set the record for Fox’s most-watched Week 1 Big Noon Saturday matchup ever — up 17% over the program’s 2022 average (an audience of about 6.2M). On Fox Sports’ digital platforms, the game also managed to become the fourth most-streamed college football game in the network’s history.
ESPN scores second place primetime finish.
Move over, Ted Lasso. There’s a new Apple TV+ series making its way onto the Nielsen streaming charts.
Preseason National Football League games dominated the list of most watched live sports events during the last full week of August. Three games from the final week of the NFL preseason landed among the top 10 most-viewed events during the week of August 21-27, including Fox’s August 27 Houston Texans-New Orleans Saints game, which averaged 4.22 million to lead all sports events, according to Nielsen numbers published by SportsMedia Watch. CBS’s August 25 Detroit Lions- Carolina Panthers telecast finished third with 3.43 million viewers, and ESPN’s August 21 Baltimore Ravens-Washington Commanders game pulled in 2.87 million viewers to place seventh.
Nielsen on Wednesday dismissed the Video Advertising Bureau’s earlier complaints about plans to use first-party data from Amazon to measure viewing of Thursday Night Football on Prime Video.
“We recognize this is a period of exceptional change in which all parties are at different stages of their own evolution,” Nielsen CEO of audience measurement business Karthik Rao said in a letter to VAB president and CEO Sean Cunningham. “However, the search for perfection risks further delaying the measurement innovations that will ultimately help drive the industry into the future. We believe that our principled, transparent and open approach to integrating first-party data requires all publishers to play by the same rules and will accelerate the industry’s move toward a streaming-first world.”
The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), representing television networks, asked Nielsen not to go forward with its plan to incorporate viewing data from Amazon when coming up with the audience estimates advertisers will use to determine how much they pay for commercials on Thursday Night Football on Amazon’s Prime Video.
NBC’s American Ninja Warrior led Monday in the demo (3.2 million viewers/0.4), while CBS’s NCIS rerun copped the night’s biggest audience (3.4M). On ABC, Claim to Fame‘s two-hour finale averaged 2.25 million total viewers (marking its third-largest audience of the season) and a typical 0.3 demo rating.
Fox News drew more than 12.8 million viewers in its coverage of the first 2024 Republican presidential debate. The figure is the combined audience for Fox News and Fox Business Network, per Nielsen. The number also is well above expectations given the absence of Donald Trump from the stage.
The football season hasn’t officially started yet, and Amazon.com is already on the verge of scoring a touchdown. Nielsen is planning to incorporate viewing data from streaming services for live programming, a move that will likely boost the ratings for Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football package and allow it to charge more for commercials. This is the first time Nielsen has agreed to use a company’s own data along with its independent research to publicly report ratings. It only applies for live programming on streaming services and is open to other streamers as well.
Summer TV broadcast viewing patterns continue to follow that of recent live, linear television trends overall — registering double-digit percentage declines in viewing, with national TV spend also sinking. After nearly two months, season-to-date viewership dropped 25% to average 1.81 million viewers per summer prime-time episode, according to Nielsen’s live program-plus-seven days of time-shifted video-on-demand metric for May 25-Aug. 13.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup has managed record-breaking viewership across the globe. In the U.S., Fox’s coverage was up slightly from 2019, despite several challenges, including frustrating time zone differences and an unexpected early elimination for the USWNT. The average audience for the team U.S. group stage games was the highest it’s ever been at 4.3M viewers (including one overnight game). Even without the USA in the competition, Fox still reported strong audiences throughout the rest of the tournament.
CBS’s Big Brother dominated Wednesday in both total viewers and in the demo with 3.2 million total viewers and a 0.6 demo rating.
NFL Network scores third-place primetime finish with pre-season football games.
MSNBC’s coverage topped out during the 9 p.m. ET hour on Monday, in which The Rachel Maddow Show featured live reports from Georgia as well as a pre-scheduled sitdown interview with Hillary Clinton. Maddow’s show averaged 3.9 million viewers, a big spike from the 2.45 million average viewers Maddow received last month.
Broadcast and cable’s share of viewing dropped below 50% to 49.6% as streaming hit a new high in July, according to Nielsen. Broadcast’s share was 20% in July, a new low, down from 20.8% in June. Cable had a 29.6% share, down from 30.6%. It’s the first time cable’s share had been below 30%.
CBS’s Big Brother led Wednesday both in total viewers (3.1 million) and in the demo (0.6). On The CW, Nancy Drew (395,000/0.0) rose to match its second-best audience of the season.
ABC’s game show lineup is making a splash on Sunday nights. Celebrity Family Feud and The $100,000 Pyramid recently drew their biggest audiences of the summer, according to Nielsen data. After seven days of delayed viewing for the July 30 episodes, both posted double-digit audience gains.
MLB remains solid, while Generation Gap and The Prank Panel take hits.
The game on Monday in Auckland, New Zealand, which kicked off at 3 a.m. ET, averaged 1,354,000 viewers. Fox and Nielsen said the audience peaked at 1.73 million for the final 15 minutes. Fox said the match was the most-watched overnight program in its history.
ABC’s Sunday game shows tied CBS’s 60 Minutes rerun for the demo win, while the latter also clocked in with the night’s largest audience. Leading out of 60 Minutes (5.3 million/0.3), Tough as Nails‘ finale (2.5M/0.2) delivered a season high in audience. On CW, The Chosen (450,000/0.0) appears to have gained a few more followers in Week 3.
Discovery Channel’s 35th annual presentation led by actor Jason Momoa dominated primetime across linear and streaming.
The game on Thursday afternoon in Wellington, New Zealand, which kicked off at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night, averaged 6,429,000 viewers on Fox, making it the most-watched group stage telecast since Fox started covering it in 2015. Fox and Nielsen said the audience peaked at 8.45 million for the final 15 minutes.
Linear TV viewing declines continue, with the top 20 summer TV shows down 15% to 3.6 million average viewers using Nielsen’s live airing-plus-7 days of time-shifted viewing metric for the period from May 25 to July 16. The heavy non-scripted summer TV period has also been affected by some broadcast TV networks delaying the start of top summer performers and moving fresh TV content into the fall primetime schedule.