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THINK LADY GAGA IS THE ONLY ONE GAMING THE NUMBERS?

This week, ABC News sent out an exciting  press release on the growing success of GMA, contents of which TVNewser ran online today: 

Meanwhile,  #2 “Good Morning America” is attracting its largest audience in four years. The ABC show is still more than 600K Total Viewers behind “Today” but had its smallest Total Viewer gap with the NBC show in four years.

The averages for the week of June 13:

  • Total Viewers: NBC: 5.15M / ABC: 4.53M / CBS: 2.21M
  • A25-54 viewers: NBC: 2.30M / ABC: 1.64M / CBS: 824K

Finally, so it seems,  the Today Show is being challenged after 809 weeks at #1.  And this isn’t the first signal from one of the TV industry’s most visited websites:

TV Newser on  June 6th:  Meanwhile, the No. 2 morning show, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” had its best overall sweeps in five years and best May sweep since 2005, posting the smallest Total Viewer gap with “Today” (780K) in 4 years.

TVNewser’s report for the week of May 30th:  Year over year, “Today” and “GMA” both experienced growth, with “GMA” up the most, +10%. “GMA” is seeing its largest total viewer audience in four years.

But is it really? In a business that has more dirty tricks than a Donald Segretti pizza party, there is a new sleight of hand in the morning show ratings war.

Since the end of April, ABC’s Good Morning America has moved its last network commercial higher up into the broadcast.  To cut through the inside baseball, this stunt officially allows them to report an earlier end to the show, shaving off as many as 15  (lower-rated) minutes when the audience is usually in decline. Without those lower-rated minutes, the  average rating of the show, calculated by the Nielsen company, is obviously going to be higher.  Read the rest of this entry »

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HEY CHRIS, YOUR EIGHTH GRADE MATH TEACHER IS CALLING, HE WANTS TO OFFER  A FREE REMEDIAL ARITHMETIC  REFRESHER

Another week, another by-line, another puzzlingly inaccurate report from TV Newser on the morning show ratings, something I’ve followed for years.

The full article follows, but I’ve excerpted the bad math that appears in the second paragraph:

Year-over-year “Today” was down while CBS and ABC were up, which can be attributed to NBC’s boost during coverage of the Vancouver Olympics last February.”

WRONG: All three were down in the demo ( A25-54) and Early and Today were down in total viewers.  GMA was up in total viewers.  How do I know this? I clicked on your own Year-over-year link and found this:

The averages for the week of Feb. 15 2010:Total Viewers: NBC: 6.38M / ABC: 4.49M / CBS: 2.85M

A25-54: NBC: 2.86M / ABC: 1.85M / CBS: 1.24M

Then I compared last years numbers to the averages you published today for the week of  Feb. 14 2011:Total Viewers:    NBC: 5.45M / ABC: 4.73M / CBS: 2.72M

A25-54 viewers: NBC: 2.43M / ABC: 1.79M / CBS: 1.20M

Here are my calculations:
Total Viewers : NBC: -930,000/ ABC +24,000/ CBS -130,000

A25-54 Viewers: NBC: -430,000/ABC   -60,000  /CBS  -40,000

It’s really not that hard to do: Step one: Write down the NBC total number from  the week of Feb. 15, 2010, then subtract the number you see next to NBC  total viewer for the week of Feb. 14, 2011.  You get 930,000 which is the decline in the audience year to year.  Repeat the same process with ABC and CBS, then all three networks for the A25-54 viewers.

Now try that math exercise for last week’s post on the morning show audience and, whoops, you’ll see why your math teacher is trying to reach you.

(In fact, I think you might want to re-check all of your numbers…. and then we’ll move on to some other suggestions.)

By Chris Ariens on February 25, 2011 4:38 PM

Last week saw another decline for the morning network news programs, compared to the week before. The combined average for NBC’s “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS’ “The Early Show” was 12.9 million, down -6% week-over-week. “Today” remained #1 with a 720K total viewer lead over “GMA.”

Year-over-year “Today” was down while CBS and ABC were up, which can be attributed to NBC’s boost during coverage of the Vancouver Olympics last February.

The averages for the week of Feb. 14:

  • Total Viewers: NBC: 5.45M / ABC: 4.73M / CBS: 2.72M
  • A25-54 viewers: NBC: 2.43M / ABC: 1.79M / CBS: 1.20M

The Surprising (Week #1) Success of the New Early Show Team

TODAY CONTINUES HOT STREAK — AT 60,

EARLY FINDS GLIMMER OF HOPE — AT 50.

Friday marked the beginning of the 60th year of the Today Show and  they have more to celebrate than anyone in network news. It’s a great show and a successful one.  I’ve estimated the show has made well over a billion dollars for NBC since 1994/5, when they first overtook Good Morning America in the middle of the O.J. Simpson case.

My pal and former competitor, Jim Bell, has done a great job keeping the show in first place as, in tv, all good runs usually come to an end… except, it seems,  for the Today Show.

Very happy new year for the new team at Early.

AN ODD MILESTONE

At the other end of the spectrum, The Early Show  (and its ‘earlier’ incarnations) has been in third place for all of  their 50 years, not a very happy golden anniversary over at CBS, for sure.

But the first indicator of viewer interest surrounding the new anchor team is at least a reason for hope: the Nielsens. Take a look at the change in the demo  year to year!

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: JANUARY 3rd (A25-54)

Early + 20,000   Today -150,000 GMA  -300,000.

Read the rest of this entry »

note from your friendly blogarist: “Paint by Numbers” will be an occasional, yet regular,  feature of daily Xpress meant to reach behind the press releases for a more accurate picture of the state of broadcast news than reported by MSM and industry websites.

KEEPING THEM HONEST

The inaugural column of  Paint by Numbers looks at this week’s entry from “TV Newser” reporting the current state of competition amongst the morning shows.  Here’s our first tutorial: the story re-posted here is based on a press release which addresses Nielsen’s tally of  total viewers, a common public relations ploy.  Those who understand the business of the news business know the only viewership that matters, the viewership which determines profitability and stability,  is adults 25-54, more commonly called the demo.

The Today Show winning streak is not challenged.  But the fight for #2 and #3 may not quite look the same in the Paint by Numbers that follows the TVNewser take:

Morning Show Ratings: Week of Dec.6

By Molly Stark Dean on December 16, 2010 2:20 PM

The “Today” show was still on top last week — another week closer to a 16-year streak.

“Today” topped #2 “Good Morning America,” but GMA cut the total viewing gap with NBC’s “Today” by -10% week-to-week and -20% year-to-year. Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos was in Afghanistan Monday, and off Tuesday.

“GMA” increased its total viewership by 2% week-to-week.

CBS’ “The Early Show” increased by 7K from week-to-week.

The averages for the week of December 6:

Total Viewers: NBC: 5.65M / ABC: 4.68M / CBS: 3.09M

A25-54 rating: NBC: 2.68M / ABC: 1.75M / CBS: 1.28M

Read the rest of this entry »