NEW YORK -- ABC, CBS and NBC are running neck-and-neck in the battle for viewers this season, but NBC can claim a clear edge in two categories crucial to the business of television.
The median household income of $51,400 among NBC viewers is the highest of any broadcaster, according to a new study. NBC is also touting research that shows it is the network of choice among regular Internet users.
Seven of the eight network shows with the richest audience are on NBC, including ''Frasier,'' ''Friends'' and ''West Wing.'' The exception is Fox's ''Ally McBeal.''
UPN, whose increase in ratings this year has been fueled largely by professional wrestling, has an audience with the lowest median income at $35,500, according to a study by TN Media, a New York advertising firm. ABC was at $48,200, Fox at $44,800, CBS at $39,200 and the WB at $40,400.
''From a sales perspective, NBC has always targeted the 18-to-49-year-old upscale viewers,'' said Alan Wurtzel, NBC president of research and media development. ''They're hard to get and advertisers are expected to pay a premium for them.''
The strategy's downside is that wealthy, well-educated people are not necessarily heavy TV viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
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