ARLINGTON, VA; OCTOBER 29, 2014 –Recent Nielsen data show that PBS finished the 2013-2014 broadcast season (Sept. 23, 2013-Sept. 21, 2014) with a dramatic increase in viewership, moving PBS to the fifth largest primetime household rating among all broadcast and cable networks, just behind CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. PBS finished the season with a 1.50 (or an average audience of 2.2 million viewers P2+), a five percent rating increase compared to its average primetime household rating of 1.43 during the 2012-2013 broadcast season. This ranking marks a significant increase for PBS, which ranked eighth at the end of the 2012-2013 broadcast season and 11th at the end of the 2011-2012 broadcast season.
PBS’ viewership increases were seen across the schedule. Sunday nights were up seven percent over the previous season, and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights were each up by four percent. Across all broadcast and cable networks, PBS was one of only three top 10 networks (including NBC and ESPN) that saw a season-over-season increase in ratings. Of the 21 hours of primetime programming each week on PBS, ratings went up in 19 of those primetime hours when comparing this season to last.
“For PBS and our member stations, this growth in viewership is incredibly gratifying,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “We’ve been laser-focused on offering more new hours of exceptional content, creating a schedule that puts shows of similar genres on the same night, and providing better flow between programs to keep viewers tuned in. It’s a strategy that is paying off.”
Highlights of the 2013-2014 broadcast season include Season Four of “Downton Abbey” on Masterpiece, a Carnival Films/Masterpiece Co-Production, which had an average audience of 13.2 million viewers, making it the highest-rated drama in PBS history. More recently, Ken Burns’s THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY gave PBS its highest-rated week since 1994.
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 109 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS PressRoom on Twitter.
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