After 9 weeks of the 2008-9 broadcast prime-time season (through November 23), all the major English broadcast networks continue to be down across the board vs. last season, but once again the year over year averages have improved in a number of areas since last week suggesting that the season to season declines might be stabilizing.
In the advertising important adults 18-49 demo, CBS seasonal comparisons improved from -6.0% to -5.8%, ABC improved from -14.3% to -13.9%, Fox improved sharply from -14.1% to -11.4%, and the CW improved from -12.2% to -9.3%. Only NBC slid backwards for the week. Two weeks of improvements suggests a stabilization trend. Next weeks results will be interesting.
Defying the overall trend, the CW continues to be up in adults 18-34 by 3.7% and by women in that age demo by even more (although we don't see gender specific data except via CW press release).
Regardless, my guess is that CBS, CW and ABC will begin to see some improvement vs. last season in early 2009 when prior year comparisons to the strike damaged portion of the 2007-8 season get a lot easier. NBC may be another matter, their results last season actually improved on a relative basis during the strike, but they have the Super Bowl this year, which will also lead to a huge spike in their averages making comparisons tricky.
Univision is up across the board vs. last season as is MyNetworkTV (MNT). They're up drastically over last season, thanks mainly to the addition of Friday Night Smackdown!. Note just their numbers, because their bars are truncated. The scale for the other networks would be useless if I adjusted the scale for them.
Our chart shows broadcast network prime-time season to date average prime-time viewership for the 2008-9 season compared to the 2007-8 season. Click the image for a full sized chart.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.