ABC World News Tonight continues to beat the competition

ABC World News tonight with David Muir was the # 1 newscast of the last quarter of 2021.

According to live and same-day data from Nielsen, ABC’s evening newscast averaged 8.2 million viewers and 1.48 million adults aged 25 to 54 in the fourth quarter. The ABC evening newscast has averaged the largest total viewership over the past 19 quarters, since the second quarter of 2017.

Additionally, World News Tonight won Q4 for the 2nd consecutive year and led for the 7th consecutive quarter in all key target demos (since Q2 2020).

These are the positives. On the downside, however, World News Tonight saw a drop in viewership from the fourth quarter of 2020, a much-loved quarter with a presidential election. WNT lost -13% of total viewers and -19% among adults aged 25 to 54 compared to this quarter. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, news coverage was -8% of total viewers and -19% among adults aged 25 to 54.

Unlike previous quarters, there were a number of Mondays in the fourth quarter that World News Tonight did not air on the West Coast in the usual 6:30 p.m. Pacific time slot. This was due to Monday Night Football on ABC. As you can imagine, this had a negative impact on Nielsen’s TV news ratings for the fourth quarter.

On NBC, Nightly News featuring Lester holt recorded its best total quarterly audience against ABC since Q4 2019 and its best quarterly key demo audience A25-54 against ABC since Q3 20. The show averaged 7.13 million viewers in total and 1.27 million from key demo A25-54 in Q4 ’21.

Although Nightly remains far behind in the race for evening news ratings, it has gained ground against rival ABC and increased its average total audience from the third quarter of 21 by almost + 8% (ABC grew + 4% from Q3, while CBS grew + 5% average viewers).

On the downside, NBC’s evening newscast was -10% of total viewership and -21% in the key demo A25-54 of Q4 2020. The story was worse compared to Q4 2017, because Nightly News was -16% of the total number of viewers and -35% among adults aged 25 to 54.

However, NBC’s flagship newscast was among the top 5 most watched TV shows in the fourth quarter. It also outperformed its evening competitors in terms of digital viewing.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.08 million total viewers and 881,000 adults aged 25 to 54 in the fourth quarter. This is -11% in total viewers and -17% among adults aged 25 to 54 from the fourth quarter of 2020.

CBS, like NBC, has lost a substantial audience compared to four years ago. Evening News was -23% of total viewers and -36% of adults aged 25 to 54 from the fourth quarter of 2017, a steeper drop than its counterparts.

The 3 evening television news gathered on average 20.41 million viewers in total in Q4 2021, a variation of + 5% compared to Q3 ’21, -12% compared to Q4 ’20 and a variation of -15 % compared to Q4 ’17.

The averages for Q4 2021:

Network ABC NBC SCS
• Total number of viewers: 8,200,000 7,127,000 5,081,000
• A25-54: 1,482,000 1,269,000 881,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, adults 25 to 54 years old. Live + SD 4Q21: 20/09/21 – 26/12/21, 3Q21: 28/6 – 19/09/21 and 4Q20: 21/9 – 27/12/20. Nielsen’s ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional broadcasts in select markets. As of 8/31/20, national odds also include Out of Home Viewing (OOH). Averages based on regular TV broadcasts.