TV Diet Of Repeats Registers Viewer Dips
Just weeks before the new TV season
is about to begin, broadcast and cable networks alike are looking to reverse some major declining programming trends -- including the all-important repeat programming.
A report from ad agency RPA says repeats only average 43% of the original episodes' C3 ratings (commercial ratings plus three days of DVR playback) among 18-49 viewers. This is down 3% for the 2011-2012 season. Repeats ratings were only 48% of the original episode ratings for all viewers, down 4% from the season before.
Broadcast networks are increasingly adding more repeat episodes to their prime-time lineups. Cable networks have long had a heavy diet of repeats of broadcast prime-time fare, as well as increasing their own originals.
Some of this repeat performance may have contributed to overall problems by both broadcast and cable networks. The five English-language broadcast nets were down 6% in 18-49 viewers among C3 ratings, to a collective average of 12.5 million viewers. Ad-supported cable networks were down 2% to 21.3 million. RPA notes that the bulk of cable viewing comes from the top 25 networks.
Looking at all viewers, both broadcast and cable were down 2% each in C3 -- broadcast to 32 million and cable to 52 million.
According to RPA -- in looking at C3 ratings -- CBS handled the 2011-2012 year well, down just 1% among 18-49 viewers to an average 3 million viewers. Fox fared worse -- thanks to a steep drop from its big "American Idol." It was down 15% to a prime-time average of 3.4 million. Fox still leads all networks.
NBC made big gains -- mostly due to rising ratings at "Sunday Night Football." It was up 6% to 2.8 million. ABC was down 6% to 2.5 million. Univision was down 4% to 1.8 million.
Big cable networks also generally went lower in 18-49 viewers as well as overall viewers. ESPN was down 11% to 1.3 million among 18-49 viewers, for example; USA was down 7% to 962,000; and TNT was down 22% to 793,000.
There were continued kid-viewer problems at Nickelodeon, which lost 16% of its average overall viewership to 2.3 million.
On the other side of things, thanks to reruns from "The Big Bang Theory," TBS was 14% improved to 1 million in 18-49 viewers and 12% higher to 1.8 million in overall viewers. History, another network with good news, was up 1% with 726,000 18-49 viewers and up 6% to 1.7 million in overall average viewers.
Broadcast network CW is now the 17th-ranked network -- broadcast or cable -- among all C3 average viewers. It had been 15th in the 2011-2012 season. CW was down 18% to 1.3 million viewers in the 2011-2012 season.