Tuesday, December 02, 2008

ABC #1 for November ratings period

ABC wins its fourth November sweeps

Final figures: Averages a 3.2/9 in adults 18-49

By Toni Fitzgerald
Dec 2, 2008
Media Life Magazine

ABC won its fourth consecutive November sweeps period, but this one was a squeaker.

The network, buoyed by the season finale of “Dancing with the Stars” last Tuesday, finished with an average 3.2 adults 18-49 rating and 9 share for the four-week period that ended last Wednesday. CBS finished a close second at 3.1/8, according to Nielsen numbers released yesterday by ABC.

The sweeps month is used by local stations to set rates for advertisers, and ABC had won the last two by wide margins after tying with CBS in 2005.

This year the network rode a big “Stars” finale on the second-to-last night to guarantee victory, despite finishing behind CBS on the final night of sweeps.

NBC placed third at 2.8/8, Fox was fourth at 2.7/7, and the CW was sixth at 0.9/2. The latter will finish behind Univision, but final numbers for the Spanish-language network, which rose year to year among total viewers, weren’t available at press time. MyNetworkTV and Telemundo also saw viewership rise.

It was hardly a cheery month for any of the Big Five broadcasters, though, with all seeing declines compared to the same period last year.

Some of that can be attributed to the presidential election, which disrupted schedules in early November.

But a good portion also reflects the lackluster development for this season, in which CBS’s “The Mentalist” and Fox’s “Fringe” have been the only really hits of note, and the latter’s strength is based mostly on its lead-in, “House.”

ABC saw the biggest declines versus last year among the Big Four, down 14 percent from a 3.7/10. CBS was off 9 percent, from a 3.4/9, and NBC down 13 percent, from a 3.2/9.

Fox fell 13 percent, from a 3.1/8, and the CW dipped 18 percent, though it performed much better when its now-canceled Sunday night schedule is taken out of the equation. Among the network’s target women 18-34 and adults 18-34 on weeknights, the CW rose double-digit percentages.

The declines simply continue a pattern seen on broadcast over the past few years as viewers adopt new patterns of television watching. Part of the erosion can be attributed to the increasing number of digital video recorders, as these numbers reflect only live-plus-same-day viewing.

When seven-day DVR playback is factored in a few weeks from now, the decreases will be much smaller.

Too, viewers are turning to cable and other forms of entertainment, including watching some network shows online. This has also sapped broadcast ratings in recent seasons. Five years ago, NBC won sweeps with a 4.4 rating, 1.2 better than ABC’s winning average this year.

1 comment:

Oh My GOFF! said...

I don't know about you but I'm so p'od that sweeps in feb have been moved to mar! that's my bday month.. I mean WTH??