The pandemic has been more equal for some than for others. Case in point: ratings for the major U.S. TV networks have been down, but their ad revenue earnings did not decline in accordance with the relative ratings drops. (Please credit George Orwell’s Animal Farm for inspiration for the above incipit.)
According to rating service Nielsen, CBS TV network’s primetime ratings in the fall of 2020 were 32 percent lower than those of the previous fall. FOX’s ratings were down 28 percent compared to the same period in 2019. NBC recorded a 25 percent drop, and ABC experienced a seven percent ratings dip from fall 2019.
However, The Wall Street Journal reported that NBC’s ad revenue was down just 12 percent in the third quarter of 2020, ABC’s ad sales were flat, CBS’s ad revenues were off just one percent compared to those of the third quarter of 2019, and FOX’s ad intake declined 15 percent.
Considering that the networks saved many millions due to the reduction of original programming, they have still managed to make a profit, only not in the usual 20 percent growth rate of the recent past, but possibly the 10 percent it experienced in the year 2000.