Interest in the presidential election should be driving up ratings for the Big Three networks' evening news shows, right?
Wrong. Here is how evening news viewership at ABC, NBC, and CBS for the two most recent available weeks compares to the analogous weeks of 2007 (From Media Bistro's TV Newser: April 7, 2008; March 31, 2008; April 9, 2007; April 2, 2007):
Total viewership continues to slip. The year-over-year downward change is over 1.7 million viewers (850,000 per week). Even though CBS's Katie Couric lost most of them, ABC and NBC combined were down by almost 500,000 (250,000 per week).
Couric's loss in the 25-54 demo is especially stunning, given that one of CBS's goals in hiring her had to be to go after that group. ABC and NBC have picked up miniscule numbers of viewers in this demo, but that's little cause for celebration. The percentage of the group watching their newscasts during the two-week comparison periods involved rose from 4.0% to 4.05% -- a statistically insignificant change.
Of course, tech trends are affecting these shows. But perhaps if their potential audiences felt that they might see fair, balanced and professional presentations if they tuned in, the slides would not be so pronounced, or could perhaps be reversed. Just a helpful thought.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.