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Early Ratings: Election Night

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November 5th, 2008

Updated fast national overnight numbers with viewer totals and age demographics have been posted.

In the early metered market report ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC combined for a 26.5/37 (household rating, share). ABC led with a 9.3/13, followed by NBC with an 8.5/12, CBS with a 4.7/7 and Fox with a 4.0/5. Berman reports that among ABC, CBS and NBC, the results were down 16% versus 2004. I'm not sure if he is comparing the early metered markets last night to the fast affiliate data from four years ago, but either way I'm not surprised it was down and am actually a little bit surprised it wasn't down more. Four years ago the race was much closer. Last night, pretty much as soon as the polls closed in California, McCain gave his concession speech.

Every broadcast network other than CW ran election coverage last night.

Here on the west coast, if the purpose of watching the coverage was to find out who won the presidency (and I know there are other reasons to watch), you were pretty much done by 8:00 when prime-time started.

90210 and Privileged were the only "shows" on last night. The early metered market numbers did bump up a bit vs. last week. But only a bit. 90210 pulled a 2.3/3 (last week 2.2/3) and Privileged a 1.7/2 (last week, 1.5/2).

We'll post more data when we see the fast affiliates, and other data as Nielsen makes it available. By sometime in the afternoon on the west coast there will likely be a full accounting of election viewing across all the networks, including cable. In the meanwhile you can check out the half hourly breakdown of the national early metered market numbers for Election night on Marc Berman's site.

Metered Market Overnight Ratings: This is normally the first available ratings information, and is based on the electronic measurement service that Nielsen provides in 56 of the nation's largest markets. In each market a sample of homes is selected to represent that individual market. Often, networks or syndicators provide metered market information as an early indicator of a program's performance. In aggregate, the 56 metered markets represent 79,890,610 homes, or 70% of all U.S. TV households. Preliminary metered market data are available as early as 8:00AM (ET). Final metered market information, reflecting line-up changes, pre-emptions and runovers, are normally available by 3:30PM (ET).

 
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