ABC is making strides in the TV-news wars, taking the lead (if narrowly) from NBC’s long-dominant “Nightly News” in the demographic most important to advertisers for three out of the last four weeks of weekday broadcasts.
To be certain, ABC’s “World News” is edging NBC by the slimmest of margins – just 8,000 viewers between 25 and 54 in the five days starting April 28 – and continues to lag well behind the Brian Williams-led Peacock newscast in overall viewership. But the newscast is making strides in an important category.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” eventually took ground from NBC’s “Today” in the ratings after years in second place, and “World News” is attempting a similar feat.
“I think this is just a nice chapter in a very long march. We have got a long way to go,” said Michael Corn, executive producer of “World News With Diane Sawyer,” in an interview. “We have a deep respect for the other broadcast, and we are far from taking any kind of victory lap here.”
During five weekday broadcasts starting April 28, “World News” attracted an average of 2.144 million adults 25-54, while NBC’s “Nightly News” attracted an average of 2.136 million, according to data from Nielsen. NBC clearly runs the bigger broadcast: “Nightly News” attracted 9.026 million viewers during the period, while “World News” lured 8.094 million, Nielsen said.
Corn said the gains in the demographic did not result from story choice or an emphasis on certain topics. “There is no silver bullet in a newscast that will rocket you to the top,” he said. “It’s about consistently delivering an interesting broadcast.” He suggested Sawyer’s anchoring skill was resonating with viewers.
ABC’s “World News” first won the 25-to-54 demo for the five days of broadcasts starting April 7, marking the first time in nine months it had trumped NBC’s “Evening News” in the category.
NBC said Tuesday that its “Nightly News” broadcast was America’s most-watched newscast for the week ended May 2, 2014. Citing Nielsen data, NBC said “Nightly” had a 9% lead over “World News” in total viewers and a 3% lead over CBS for the period.