Nielsen, networks clash on stats showing fewer viewers

NEW YORK – Individuals have been trapped at residence for a calendar year thanks to COVID-19 limits, with movie theaters shut, live performance venues closed, dining places shut, athletics attendance restricted — still television viewing is down?

That tends to make no perception to networks and cable and satellite providers, who are complaining that the Nielsen corporation is inaccurately counting how numerous persons are in fact viewing.

Nielsen’s reply, in a nutshell: the truth of the matter hurts.

It is really an argument with money implications, because networks later on this spring commence marketing advertising for the next yr. Much less viewers equal much less advert pounds.

As a result of the trade team Online video Marketing Bureau, the networks are perplexed by Nielsen stats that demonstrate the proportion of People who viewed their televisions at minimum some time for the duration of the week declined from 92% in 2019 to 87% so significantly this calendar year.

Other than remaining counter-intuitive in the pandemic period, the VAB claims that getting runs counter to other proof, together with viewing measurements from set-top rated cable packing containers, the greater amount of streaming options that have turn out to be available and a jump in profits for television sets.


“We assume the market place warrants a whole lot more clarity,” explained Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of the VAB, on Tuesday.

The number of families, particularly large family members, collaborating in Nielsen measurements has dropped around the past 12 months in percentages equivalent to the lower in viewership, Cunningham stated. Nielsen acknowledges that its sample dimensions is smaller sized — the firm is not sending staff into houses mainly because of COVID-19 — but mentioned figures are becoming weighted to account for the change.

Last week, for illustration, typical prime-time viewership on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox was down 16% from the identical week in 2020. The lower would have been steeper if not for the NCAA men’s basketball championship recreation, which was not held final year.

Right after an initial spike in viewership when lockdowns took effect final spring, extended-phrase traits getting people absent from their sets reasserted by themselves, Nielsen explained.


Extra people today are shelling out time on tablets and smartphones, which aren’t measured by Nielsen. The podcast marketplace is soaring. Sporting activities on television was interrupted. Because of to output shutdowns, television networks had been airing significantly a lot more reruns, Nielsen said.

“The media industry, just like all many others, was not ready for the grand change in daily life that the pandemic forced, seemingly right away,” Nielsen stated in a investigate paper responding to the VAB’s criticisms.

CBS was the most preferred network very last week, averaging 5.9 million viewers in primary time. NBC experienced 3.46 million, ABC experienced 3.45 million, Fox had 1.8 million, Univision experienced 1.3 million, Telemundo experienced 1.1 million, Ion Tv experienced 1 million and the CW had 720,000.

Fox News Channel led the cable networks, averaging 2.12 million viewers in key time. MSNBC experienced 1.59 million, HGTV had 1.21 million, CNN had 1 million and TBS experienced 993,000.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” received the evening news ratings race, averaging 8.2 million viewers past week. NBC’s “Nightly News” experienced 6.6 million and the “CBS Evening News” experienced 4.9 million.


For the 7 days of April 5-11, the 20 most-viewed programs, their networks and viewerships:

1. NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Baylor vs. Gonzaga, CBS, 16.92 million.

2. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.26 million.

3. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.74 million.

4. “FBI,” CBS, 8.07 million.

5. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 6.95 million.

6. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 6.88 million.

7. “Chicago Hearth,” NBC, 6.65 million.

8. “FBI: Most Wished,” CBS, 6.44 million.

9. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.35 million.

10. “NCAA Basketball Pregame Clearly show,” CBS, 6.21 million.

11. “American Idol,” ABC, 6.09 million.

12. “The Voice,” NBC, 6.02 million.

13. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 5.8 million.

14. “Magnum, P.I.,” CBS, 5.61 million.

15. “United States of Al,” CBS, 5.38 million.

16. “Mom,” CBS, 4.93 million.

17. “America’s Funniest Home Films,” ABC, 4.92 million.

18. “Law & Buy: SVU,” NBC, 4.9 million.

19. “Station 19,” ABC, 4.87 million.

20. “Law & Purchase: Organized Crime,” NBC, 4.84 million.

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