Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

AboutFollow Donate

Fact Sheet

June 16, 2017

Network News Fact Sheet

    MORE FACT SHEETS: STATE OF THE NEWS MEDIA

    Network TV news – appointment viewing for more than 20 million Americans – has experienced relative stability in the size of its audience over the past decade. Financially, in recent years, the news programs of the three major networks – NBC, ABC and CBS – have generated growing revenue. Explore the patterns and longitudinal data about network TV news below.

    Audience

    Combined average viewership for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts remained stable, down 1% in 2016, staying at about 24 million, according to Pew Research Center analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

    Evening network news viewership

    Year Viewership
    2008 22,770,000
    2009 22,223,000
    2010 21,467,000
    2011 22,510,000
    2012 22,141,000
    2013 22,603,000
    2014 23,650,000
    2015 23,871,000
    2016 23,750,000

    Pew Research Center

    Viewership for morning newscasts – NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning – was also stable, down 1% in 2016, staying at about 13 million.

    Morning network news viewership

    Year Viewership
    2008 13,053,000
    2009 12,738,000
    2010 12,379,000
    2011 13,060,000
    2012 12,591,000
    2013 13,281,000
    2014 13,576,000
    2015 13,324,000
    2016 13,195,000

    Pew Research Center

    The combined average audience for the network Sunday political talk shows on NBC, ABC and CBS – Meet the Press, This Week and Face the Nation, respectively – grew 14% in 2016 from the year before. This follows an 8% increase from 2014 to 2015.

    There is a fourth network-based Sunday political talk show: Fox News Sunday. It airs on Fox Broadcasting Company’s affiliate stations (separate from the cable entity) and is the only national-level news programming produced by the network. When those viewership figures are included in the mix the pattern for the year is the same – 14% growth.

    Sunday morning network political talk show viewership

    Year Viewership
    2008 9,934,000
    2009 8,927,000
    2010 8,091,000
    2011 8,150,000
    2012 8,426,000
    2013 8,407,000
    2014 8,595,000
    2015 9,257,000
    2016 10,556,000

    Pew Research Center

    Combined viewership for the six newsmagazine shows aired by the networks – CBS’s 60 Minutes and 48 Hours, ABC’s 20/20 and Nightline, and NBC’s Dateline Friday and Dateline Sunday – continued to decline in 2016 down 5% from 2015.

    Newsmagazine network viewership

    Year Viewership
    2008 38,813,000
    2009 39,173,000
    2010 36,867,000
    2011 36,210,000
    2012 34,571,000
    2013 34,146,000
    2014 34,141,000
    2015 32,482,000
    2016 30,716,000

    Pew Research Center

    Economics

    Advertising revenue estimates for the three evening news programs – NBC Nightly News, ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News – showed growth in 2016. For the first three quarters of 2016, combined revenues for the evening broadcast news programs were up an estimated 12% compared with the same three quarters in 2015, according to advertising revenue estimates from Kantar Media.

    Evening network news revenue

    Year Revenue
    2012 $335,720,000
    2013 $346,430,000
    2014 $352,960,000
    2015 $374,721,000
    2016 $420,877,000

    Pew Research Center

    The three networks also experienced financial growth for the morning news programs from the previous year: up 3% to an estimated $836 million in advertising revenue for the period of January-September 2016.

    Morning network news revenue

    Year Revenue
    2012 $731,314,000
    2013 $748,225,000
    2014 $709,665,000
    2015 $809,045,000
    2016 $836,462,000

    Pew Research Center

    Find out more

    This fact sheet was compiled by Katerina Eva Matsa, who is a senior researcher focusing on journalism research at Pew Research Center.

    Read the methodology.

    Find more in-depth explorations of network news by following the links below.

    Trump, Clinton Voters Divided in Their Main Source for Election News Jan. 18, 2017
    The Modern News Consumer July 7, 2016