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Network Nightly News plummenting in ratings

Walter Cronkite would be very unhappy
Walter Cronkite would be very unhappy
getty photos

It was inevitable to learn a majority of Americans willing to say they actually watch network nightly news has fallen to just 27 percent, down from 60 percent in 1993, according to the Pew Research Center.

Worse news is young people are by a huge majority only watch 11 percent of those 18 to 29 years old, down from 46 percent in 1993. Nearly half (49 percent) say they never watch network nightly news.


Completely opposite are Americans aged 65 and up who are more likely to watch. But then again, regular viewership in this demographic has fallen to 40 percent, down from 75 percent in 1993.

As the Pew research team says, "Television remains the public's top daily news source, but the audience for network TV news has steadily declined over the years as people have migrated to other places for news, namely cable TV and digital sources."

Total numbers?

The actual number of Americans who watch a nightly newscast on ABC, CBS, or NBC each evening has fallen from 48 million in 1985 to 24.5 million last year. This according to a Pew analysis of data from Nielsen Media Research.

The waning popularity nightly network news was just 27 percent of respondents shown a photo of Brian Williams who could correctly identify the anchor of the top-rated "NBC Nightly News." Three percent said he was former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, and 2 percent said he was Vice President Joe Biden.


This was in contrast to a 1985 survey by Times Mirror/Gallup, 47 percent of respondents who correctly identified a photo of Dan Rather – then anchor of CBS' top-rated evening news program.

Only 15 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 correctly identified Brian Williams , the news anchor at NBC News, compared to 41 percent who named Rather in the 1985 survey.

Experts in the field are predicting that TV's share of global advertising is likely to fall in coming years, with digital media chipping away at television's dominance.

Walter Cronkite just shifted in his grave.

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