Evening News Ratings Grew in 2014, Even as Cable Shrank

Courtesy of ABC
David Muir

ABC's 'World News Tonight' also closes the revenue gap with NBC's 'Nightly News.'

Plagued by anchor turnover and the occasional scandal, broadcast evening news is still in very good shape.

Pew Research Center released its annual State of the News Media report, and among the many findings is the fact that ABC, CBS and NBC's weeknight telecasts grew by 5 percent in 2014 for an average viewership of 24 million.

What's interesting is that NBC grew the most, 6 percent, and held the lead with an average 8.9 million viewers. That was last year, before Brian Williams' credibility controversy and the ensuing suspension that saw Lester Holt take his seat — and the recent four consecutive wins for main competitor ABC, anchored by David Muir.

ABC was already closing the gap was in revenue. Per estimates from Kantar Media, 2014 revenue for NBC's Nightly and ABC World News were neck and neck, with ABC climbing 11 percent to $144 million. That's just shy of NBC's $148 million, a 4 percent decline.

And ratings are not the end-all barometer for revenue. Just look at the morning shows. Despite two years of ratings dominance, ABC's Good Morning America still paces $72 million behind NBC's Today Show in annual revenue — though the latter did drop 12 percent in 2014.

One arena that saw overall dips across the board in 2014 was the cable news nets. Though the average primetime showing of No. 1 Fox News Channel was up, CNN and MSNBC brought the overall average down 8 percent. Still, revenue didn't stall. Continuing the trend mild growth, all but MSNBC improved from 2014 — with FNC up 6 percent to a whopping $2.04 billion.

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