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.