MORE FACT SHEETS: STATE OF THE NEWS MEDIA
Network TV news – appointment viewing for many Americans – saw its audience decline over the past year. Financially, advertiser expenditure for the news programs of the three major networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – has been steady in recent years. Explore the patterns and longitudinal data about network TV news below.
The average audience for the evening newscasts for ABC, CBS and NBC remained relatively stable in 2018, with 5.3 million viewers tuning in on average, compared with 5.2 million in 2017, according to Comscore TV Essentials® data. (Average audience is defined as the average number of TVs tuned to a program throughout a time period.)
Previous versions of this fact sheet included audience data stretching back to 2008. That data is available in the archived 2017 fact sheet.
Average audience for morning news programs from ABC, CBS and NBC declined over the past year, down 4% in 2018, to about 3.2 million from 3.3 million.
Average audience for the network TV Sunday morning political talk shows on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC – This Week, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press, respectively – declined 8% in 2018, to about 2.3 million average viewers.
The average audience for the four newsmagazine shows aired by the networks – ABC’s 20/20, CBS’s 60 Minutes and 48 Hours, and NBC’s Dateline – declined in 2018, down 8% from 2017.
Combined advertiser expenditures for the evening broadcast news programs, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, were $518 million in 2018, a decline of 6% compared with 2017, according to estimates from Kantar Media. (This data reflects the amount of money paid by advertisers, rather than the amount of revenue actually earned by networks.)
The three networks’ advertiser expenditures for the morning news programs saw a slight increase in 2018, increasing 3% to $1.13 billion from $1.09 billion.
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Find more in-depth explorations of network news by following the links below:
- Social media outpaces print newspapers in the U.S. as a news source, Dec. 10, 2018
- Americans Still Prefer Watching to Reading the News – and Mostly Still Through Television, Dec. 3, 2018
- Fewer Americans rely on TV news; what type they watch varies by who they are, Jan. 5, 2018
- Americans’ online news use is closing in on TV news use, Sept. 7, 2017
- Trump, Clinton Voters Divided in Their Main Source for Election News, Jan. 18, 2017