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Ad Age's John Rash asks, Where did all the Tuesday night viewers go?

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March 18th, 2009

Sometimes we dream of  some day  growing up to be a viable business like Advertising Age.  But perhaps not, if it yields overnight ratings reports like the one today from John Rash.  John doesn't work for Ad Age but is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis.  But he writes the "Rash Report" which covers the overnight ratings for Ad Age.  For Tuesday's report his headline was Where Did All the Broadcast Viewers Go Tuesday Night? where he writes:

MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Maybe Americans were so mad about the song and dance from AIG's CEO that they tuned out the song-and-dance reality shows designed to get away from the world's woes. Whatever the reason, both Fox's "American Idol" and ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" results show -- as well as NBC's weight-loss reality show "Biggest Loser" -- lost viewers last night. But then again, so did CBS's dramas, which returned from two weeks of repeats and delivered their lowest original-episode ratings this season.

I wouldn't have any problem with this at all if it were anywhere close to the truth which was: the Tuesday night broadcast viewers didn't go anywhere!

In fact, in prime-time across the big four broadcast nets there were about two million more viewers  last night than the prior Tuesday or roughly 54.07M viewers last night vs. 52.09M last week.

I completely understand about just dying to write that first sentence, and if shortly after that paragraph he'd have gone on to say that the viewers actually didn't go anywhere, that would've been OK.  But,  in fact there were a few more broadcast viewers last night and that they were just shifted around due to ABC going from airing complete ratings disasters last week  to the  Dancing with the Stars results show this week.

Update: as Bill notes in the comments below, the 18-49 averages were in fact down a little. In fairness the 18-49 numbers do matter as far as the advertising dollars go (and John is writing for Advertising Age), whereas the overall viewers do not matter.  A less than 4% decrease week over week among 18-49s is hardly the kind of mass exodus and doesn't seem enough to warrant  the sensationalism of the headline and opening,  it is was at least an exodus.  My apologies to Mr. Rash.   I'd probably chalk that decrease up to young people out having fun on St. Patrick's day than rage over the bailouts...

 
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