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ABC's Chance To Catch NBC In Adults 18-49 Is All In The Rounding

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April 28th, 2010

With just 4 weeks to go in the broadcast primetime season, the only chance ABC has to catch NBC for third place in the adults 18-49 ratings is "rounding".

Season average ratings are reported to the public rounded to the nearest tenth, but looking at more digits ABC's current average is a 2.67 and NBC's is a 2.76. There's no way that ABC can make up that entire tenth of a point in the last four weeks of a 35 week season, but they don't have to for PR purposes. All ABC has to do is keep their average above a 2.65 (so it will be rounded up to a 2.7), and hope NBC slips below a 2.75 (which would be rounded down to a 2.7). Voila! a tie, and ABC saves some face.

No need to comment that NBC had the Winter Olympics, everyone knows that. The fact that ABC may catch NBC even so, is what's interesting.

Season To Date Ratings

  • Fox is certain to win both the adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 ratings races this season, and seems likely to stay tied with CBS for adults 25-54.
  • CBS is certain to win the average viewership race, and a tie with Fox for adults 25-54 seems likely.
  • NBC's season ratings averages continue to slip, and their hold on sole third place for adults 18-49 is threatened by ABC, see above.

The xCBS and xNBC values in the Season To Date chart show the season to date ratings minus a few non-annual events for CBS and NBC.

  • The xCBS number is the CBS season to date ratings average minus the entire Super Bowl 2010 week.
  • The xNBC number is the NBC season to date ratings average minus the 3 weeks with any Winter Olympics telecasts.

Unfortunately, with the data I get, I can do no better than exclude entire weeks. Those numbers should not be considered "official", and there are always errors possible. They're meant to help answer the question "How would CBS (or NBC) be doing without those non-annual events".

Not much of any change in the seasonal ratings comparisons since last week, and with 31 of the 35 weeks of the season gone, it's unlikely there will be in the next four weeks.

Ratings Increase / Decrease: 2009-10 Season vs. 2008-9 Season

  • Fox continues up in viewership, adults 18-49 and 18-34 vs. last season, but its spring has not done as relatively well as its fall, and its ratings gains vs. last year are nearing break even (and have reached break even for adults 25-54).
  • CBS is up in viewership and adults 18-34 vs. last season, due to boost they received during Super Bowl week. Without it, they'd be down across the board in the adult demo ratings.
  • NBC, even with the Winter Olympics, is down 3% vs. last year in adults 18-49.
  • ABC is down vs. last season across the board between 4-8%.
  • Since the CW only programs Monday-Friday this season vs. Sunday-Friday last season, doing season to season comparisons is apples to oranges enough to not bother having to explain each week.

The xCBS and xNBC values in the Season To Season change chart show the season to date ratings changes minus a few non-annual events for CBS and NBC.

  • The xCBS number is the CBS season to season ratings change minus the entire Super Bowl 2010 week.
  • The xNBC number is the NBC season to season ratings change minus all 3 weeks that included any Winter Olympics this year, and the week that included the Super Bowl 2009 last year.

Unfortunately, with the data I get, I can do no better than exclude entire weeks. Those numbers should not be considered "official", and there are always errors possible. They're meant to help answer the question "How would CBS (or NBC) be doing without those non-annual events". I lack the data to do those adjusted comparisons for average viewership.

You can see past week's broadcast network primetime season to date average TV ratings results here.

Each rating point is a percentage of the US TV population in that demographic group and equals: 2.90 million viewers, 1.32 million adults 18-49, 0.68 million adults 18-34 and 1.24 million adults 25-54.

Note that the chart includes RATINGS not VIEWERSHIP as was typical in our weekly network ratings posts prior to July, 2009.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

 
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