Evening News Viewership Was Down about 10% in 2006
So when are the Big Three Networks going to do something about their hopelessly outmoded and out-of-touch evening-news dinosaurs?
The 2006 report on The State of the News Media from Journalism.org, which covered 2005 results, showed that the Big 3 Networks' evening news audience that year averaged 27 million (the exact number is not noted, but inferred from reading the graph at the link; if anything, the actual number may have been slightly higher).
TV Newser says the final 2006 evening news averages were:
NBC: 8,785,000 / ABC: 8,069,000 / CBS: 7,429,000
Rounding up slightly, that's a total of 24.3 million -- not exactly the disaster yours truly thought might occur this summer after a particularly bad week for evening news viewership, but a pretty steep decline nonetheless. On average during 2006, over 200,000 fewer people each month tuned in to see NBC's Nightly News (currently anchored by Brian Williams), ABC's World News Tonight (currently with Charles Gibson), or the CBS Evening News (with Katie Couric).
Eyeballing the following graph from last year and looking at the 2006 numbers above, it looks like NBC was down about 14%, ABC about 11%, and CBS about 6%:
The overall drop was about 10%. And yes, Virginia, overall evening news viewership is down well over 50% in the past 26 years, from roughly 52 million to today's 24.3 million, while the USA's population has gone up about one-third (from 226 million in 1980 to a little over 300 million at the end of 2006).
If the decline in the number of viewers continues at that 2.7 million-per-year pace, the audience for the nets' hopelessly biased evening news broadcasts will be gone in just nine years. Of course, network executives who have been ignoring these loss leaders for years (the explanation as to why they can continue to deteriorate and avoid moving away from their relentlessly biased ways is here) will be forced to sit up, take notice, and act to pull the plugs long before that occurs.
Counting the days ....
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.