If you haven't already, you're about to hear about how the WGA strike "ruined" the current broadcast TV season. But how much of the change in viewership is due to the strike, which has become a convenient scapegoat, and how much is due to other factors like the historical drift of viewers away from broadcast TV, additional non-TV entertainment choices, or simply bad programming?
With the data, you can be the judge. ABC has been down about 3% from the start of the season, and CBS likewise down about 8%. That's not the strike. The CW has been in free-fall from the start of the season, again, not the strike. NBC bottomed out at nearly an 18% decline y/y, and has lately been trending up. Fox benefited from improved baseball ratings, and along with NBC, some nice late season football ratings.
We'll keep updating this chart as the season progresses and watch the results.
1/15/08 UPDATE: I have changed the x-axis date scale on the chart to show the last date of the week charted instead of the first date. The data is unchanged.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.