TV NETWORK VIEWERSHIP CONTINUES DECLINE -- DOES SPORTS HELP?
"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).