PBS NewsHour demonstrates impressive gains in 2015

PBS NewsHour One Sheet distributed at PBS Press Tour at the Television Critics Association Winter Meeting.

2015 was a pivotal year in the 40-year history of PBS NEWSHOUR. Under new ownership from WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public television station in the nation’s capital, NEWSHOUR is now under the leadership of Sara Just, named executive producer of NEWSHOUR and WETA senior vice president in September 2014 after 25 years at ABC News. In 2015, NEWSHOUR expanded its reporting bench, launched new editorial partnerships, podcasts and other innovative digital initiatives, and unveiled a new broadcast set, graphics package and music library. Major enterprising reporting projects in the past year included an ongoing series of reports on the refugee crisis in Eastern Europe and the Middle East; a four-part series from Nigeria on terrorism, corruption, and human rights; a week-long look at the changing arts and cultural landscape in Cuba; the battle to control the Ebola crisis in West Africa; and advancements in upper limb prosthetics, among many more. In 2016, NEWSHOUR has already laid out commitments to telling captivating stories that matter, with planned special coverage to come from Kenya, Asia, and the U.S. presidential campaign trail.         

 Election Year 2016 Items of Note

  • PBS NEWSHOUR will produce PBS NEWSHOUR DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATE, moderated by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 11, 2016 from 9-11 p.m. ET. This will be the first all-female moderating team at a presidential debate.
  • In the run-up to the 2016 election, NEWSHOUR,FRONTLINE, and American Public Media’s MARKETPLACE will team up to investigate the American economy, from the forces that have shaped it, to the lives of the people living in it.
  • NEWSHOUR’s election-focused special programming of the early primary season will include coverage of the Iowa Caucuses, New Hampshire Primary and Super Tuesday.
  • In partnership with NPR, NEWSHOUR will provide full coverage in July 2016 of the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention, a first time collaboration for the two organizations.
  • Ongoing coverage of the campaigns on the nightly broadcast and online at pbs.org/newshour and on its social platforms, PBS NEWSHOUR on Facebook, and @NewsHour on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Overall Program Items of Note

2015 Audience Growth Online

  • PBS NEWSHOUR online saw 38% user growth, with more than 37.5 million users in 2015, 10 million more than in 2014.
  • NEWSHOUR had a 22% increase in page views, more than 92.3 million in 2015 compared to 74.9 million in 2014.
  • Mobile audience increased by 56% in 2015 over the previous year, from 18.8 million to 29.3 million. Fifty two percent of all visits to our site in 2015 were on mobile devices.
  • YouTube users grew 57% increase over 2014 to 33.8 million users.
  • On YouTube, PBS and Facebook combined, NEWSHOUR served more than 83.3 million video views this year, compared to 27.1 million in 2014.

Broadcast Ratings

The last four weeks of PBS NEWSHOUR broadcasts (20 shows) are up +12%, according to Nielsen data from TRAC overnights. For the month of December 2015, NEWSHOUR was up +9% compared to December 2014.

Engagement on Social

  • In December 2015, PBS NEWSHOUR logged an increase of 390% engaged users on Facebook, with 1,897,091 engaged users compared to 386,929 in December 2014.
  • Video views on Facebook during 2015 were more than 41 million.
  • Daily Twitter impressions grew 18% in 2015 compared to 2014, from 357,000 to 422,000.
  • YouTube Shares increased 258% from 29,608 to 106,113.
  • YouTube views average duration watched jumped from 5:20 in 2014 to 5:53 in 2015.

Influence on Social

In December 2015, TheHollywoodReporter.com published the Top 10 News and Variety TV Shows on Social Media, according to MVPindex. PBS NEWSHOUR placed 9th, ahead of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and among ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Today, Live! With Kelly and Michael, Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The Hollywood Reporter’s list is based on MVPindex’s “proprietary algorithm weighing reach (fans, followers, etc.), engagement (likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites, etc.), and conversation (positive/negative sentiment across the Web)” from September – December 2015. The article specifically noted NEWSHOUR’s social coverage of the November attacks in Paris.


According to the 2015 Erdos & Morgan Opinion Leaders Study, PBS NEWSHOUR ranked #1 overall as the most credible print and television news source.


In 2015, PBS NEWSHOUR received two News and Documentary Emmy Awards. In the category “Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast,” NEWSHOUR had two nominations, and was the recipient for “Who’s Behind the Chinese Takeover of the World’s Biggest Pork Producer?” with Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting. In the category of Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast, NEWSHOUR was named the recipient for “Hazardous Work: Diving into the Philippines’ Dangerous Underwater Mines,” done in conjunction with the Pulitzer Center and photographer and investigative reporter Larry C. Price.

PBS NEWSHOUR is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with WNET in New York. Major funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Major corporate funding is provided by BNSF and Lincoln Financial Group, with additional support from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, National Science Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others.