NBC and CBS can both lay claim to victories for the 2016-2017 television season.
For NBC, it’s a first-place finish in the 18-49 demographic for the third time in the past four years. The broadcaster finished the season with a 2.1 Nielsen live program/same-day time-shifted rating, mostly on pace with what it posted last year, according to MediaPost.
As the report pointed out, NBC’s win in that demographic this season stands out since the broadcaster was able to do it without airing a Super Bowl or an Olympics. Leading NBC’s win was high-rated performances by both the NFL’s Sunday Night Football and the back half of Thursday Night Football, comprised of five games—NBC splits the rights with CBS, which aired the first five of the season.
For the same 18-49 Nielsen demo, Fox finished with a 1.9 rating, CBS fell 22% to a 1.8 rating, ABC fell 11% to a 1.6 and the CW fell 12% to a 0.7.
While CBS may have trailed in that demographic, the broadcaster won out in terms of total viewers, with 9.6 million. NBC had 8.1 million, ABC had 6.2 million, Fox had 5.8 million and the CW had 1.8 million.
While ratings were slightly down from a year ago, broadcasters saw increases in ad revenue. Broadcast networks saw an 8% increase in advertising year-over-year in April, driven largely a 154% increase in sports programming on broadcast.
That included CBS airing the final three games of the March Madness tournament, whereas TBS aired them in 2016. The loss of those games on TBS was the biggest contributing factor to the 7% decline in cable ad spending during the month, according to Standard Media Index.
The 2016-2017 season ratings are coming in just as the major broadcasters are wrapping up their individual Upfronts. In what looked like a jab at competitor NBC, CBS CEO Les Moonves used the term “Must See TV” to describe his network’s fall lineup. NBC has also revived the tagline for its new Thursday nights which include hit drama “This Is Us” and the revival of “Will & Grace.”
The line from Moonves came this week during the network’s annual breakfast preceding its upfronts presentation. Moonves used the event to boast of CBS’ lineup heading into the 2017-2018 season.
“We are very bullish about the television business, bullish about CBS,” Moonves said, according to Deadline.