How ‘NBC Nightly News’ Has Been Trolling for a Few Extra Eyeballs

Mar 19, 2015  •  Post A Comment

With Brian Williams serving out his six-month suspension, “NBC Nightly News” has reportedly found a way to bring in a few extra viewers. Writing on Deadline.com, Dominic Patten reports that “Nightly News” rebroadcasts in late-night have helped pump up the show’s numbers.

“In a tight race with ABC News’ evening ‘World News Tonight,’ the Comcast-owned NBC News has been picking up extra eyeballs among the insomniac crowd in recent weeks by re-airing Lester Holt’s 6:30 PM broadcast in the early AM hours in 10 markets across the country,” Patten writes.

The program aired in its entirety last week in the early-morning hours on NBC affiliates in Cleveland, St. Louis, Portland, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, Buffalo and Knoxville, the report notes.

“According to NBC News, the replays started in early February, just before Williams’ Choppergate tall tale started to spin out of control. Beginning with one station that week, then up to three and now 10, NBC reportedly instructed Gannett to start replaying the ‘Nightly News’ on the stations in those markets that it owned,” Patten writes.

The piece notes that NBC appears to be the only network taking advantage of Nielsen’s policy that allows rebroadcasts to be counted toward the program’s ratings and viewership totals.

“Under Nielsen policy, the re-aired programming must be exactly the same as the original broadcast — including the ads,” Patten notes. “It also can’t be broadcast in markets that make up more than 30% of the country in total. So, no extra revenue but a few possible rating and viewership gains.”

How big a difference can the late-night airings make? In a close battle with ABC, the extra airings — which Patten notes have not been mentioned in NBC’s ratings announcements — can be significant.

“Those extra NBC broadcasts could make all the bragging-rights difference in a tight race that saw ‘NBC Nightly News’ beat ‘World News Tonight’ with an average of 8.131 million viewers over the week of March 9 compared to ABC’s 8.120 million. That’s an 11,000-viewers gap on a week that saw NBC down 16.5% from the week before,” Patten’s report notes.

The article cites a spokesperson for NBC News saying this week: “Like any forward-looking media organization, we have been focused on ways to reach our audience when and how they want to be reached. Over the last year we have launched NBC Nightly News on VOD and SiriusXM, and we have made the broadcast available at later airings in some markets. We believed there would be an appetite for NBC Nightly News in addition to its regular time slot, and that has proven to be true: The viewer response has been overwhelmingly positive.”


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