TV NETWORK VIEWERSHIP CONTINUES DECLINE -- DOES SPORTS HELP?
Published November 21, 1994
"The undercurrent of shrinking network television audiences continues unabated," according to Tim Jones in this morning's CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Since the '83-84 season, viewership has dropped 19% for ABC, 17% for NBC, and 12.6% for CBS. "The most recent figures from Nielsen show a continued network viewing decline of 2.7 percent in the year ended last month. The cancellation of baseball playoffs and the World Series likely hurt last month's viewer count. There is, however, no evidence to suggest the overall downward trend is reversing itself." Jones adds that "sports is not automatically the savior of any network," in fact, "as CBS learned with its money-losing contract with Major League Baseball, sports is an anchor that can pull the ship under." James Goss, media analyst with Duff & Phelps: "Sports establishes an image but doesn't necessarily do a lot for the bottom line" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/21). VIACOM EYEING CBS? USA TODAY reports this morning that Viacom "is taking a preliminary look at CBS." According to an unnamed source, "Viacom is understood to have met within the past two weeks with investment bankers who want it to buy CBS" (Lieberman & Dorfman, USA TODAY, 11/21).