Despite Huge Gains This Week, Season's Audience Shrinks
Although some series and season finales this past week drew record or near-record audiences and some sports telecasts throughout the year did the same, the actual number of viewers watching broadcast television declined during the past season. Moreover, they also grew older, according to several published analyses of end-of-season figures released by Nielsen Media Research. The only network not to lose viewers was Spanish-language Univision. Today's (Friday) Wall Street Journal observed that although the total TV audience grew 1.5 percent during the season, the number of viewers 18-49 was down 1.4 percent from a year ago and 2.7 percent from two years ago. CBS was again the most-watched network in total viewers for the year, but its numbers were down 1.5 percent from last year. Fox remained No. 1 among adults 18-49, but its numbers in that demo were down nearly 5 percent from last year. NBC saw a whopping 15-percent decline in its primetime audience.