Some Broadcast Slippage, Cable Sees Uptick In Summer Fare

Summertime ratings have an easy winner so far -- an Olympics-heavy NBC. But looking deeper -- sans the high-rated Olympics programming -- all broadcast networks and most cable networks have shown slippage.

Looking at the live-plus-seven-day DVR playback through August 19, NBC has averaged 3.1 rating among 18-49 viewers when looking at all its summer programming -- but a 1.5 rating without the Olympics.

This number is down 8% from a year ago -- not bad considering that other networks have hit lower levels, percentage-wise. Fox is at a 1.6 rating now, down 11%; ABC at a 1.5 rating, off 15%; and CBS down 17% to a 1.1 rating. These results come from research compiled by Nielsen.

The top 10 cable networks -- which have used the summer to push much of their original programming -- are up 2% to a collective 6.3 rating among 18-49 viewers for live plus seven days of DVR playback. Looking at all viewers 2 years and older, ratings are up 4%. But looking at all of ad-supported cable, some 70-odd networks, ratings among 18-49 viewers are down 4% to a collective 17.5 rating. Total viewer ratings are also down 4%.

TV proponents note that all TV viewing continues to climb in the summer, however -- up to 33.3 hours a week, from 33.0 a year ago. In 2009 and 2010, the numbers were 32.9 hours each year.

Live viewing has ticked up a bit -- versus declines in the last few years -- now at 30.7 hours a week, possibly due to the Olympics. A year ago, it was 30.5. In 2010, it was 30.8; in 2009 it hit 31.4.

Time-shifted viewing continues to grow -- now at an average of 2.6 hours a week, up from 2.4 hours a year ago. In 2010, it was at 2.1 hours, and in 2009, it was 1.4 hours.

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