Viewers Check Cable First, Then Broadcast

by , Oct 16, 2012, 8:00 AM
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Woman-watching-TVWith cable ratings rising, research suggests fewer viewers are beginning their prime-time TV experience by checking out the broadcast networks first -- if they aren’t tuning into a particular program. Research from GfK shows the percentage of viewers (18-49) who cite a broadcast channel as one of the top three they turn to has dropped from 49% in 2008 to 42% this year.
 
Those mentioning a cable network among the first three has risen from 80% to 85% over the same period. The results come from an online survey.
 
Cable has been above 80% in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Broadcast channels have fallen steadily from 52% in 2004.
 
Also, undergoing a change is how 18-to-49 find out about prime-time programming, a trend network marketers are continually trying to stay a step ahead of.
 
Social media is on the rise, up to 6% from about zero in 2008. Also instructive, is TV Guide continues to drop, from 6% in 2008 to 4% this year. (The figure was 9% in 2004.)
 
GfK reported a more precipitous drop for daily newspaper listings, with a decline from 8% in 2008 to 2% in 2012.
 
The four leading ways 18-to-49s find out about prime-time programs have seen declines, but still lead the choices. In 2012, flipping channels, using an interactive program guide and “just know when on” all came in at 38% among survey participants.
 
Perhaps a sign that viewers are zipping through more commercials with DVRs, TV ads saw a major drop from 30% four years ago to 19% this year.
 
Data shows the number of 18-to-49 who believe the amount of ads in prime time is greater than in other dayparts, increased from 59% in 2008 to 63% this year. But 69% believe the number of prime-time ads, which is the same as a year or two ago — and the same percentage as four years ago.
 
Network sales executives might be heartened by data showing 40% of those surveyed say prime-time ads help them “become aware of new products better,” up from 35% in 2008. The figure was, however, 47% eight years ago.
 
Prime-time video consumption has seen a decline in the number of 18-to-49 year-olds using a TV set in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. hour from 83% in 2008 to 64% this year. Watching streaming video (7%) and recorded programming (8%) has accounted for much of the drop. The survey asked participants to identify viewing habits in the hour the previous day.

1 comment on "Viewers Check Cable First, Then Broadcast".

  1. john Sheehan from Millennium Media Entertainment
    commented on: October 16, 2012 at 10:47 p.m.
    So, where are the ratings for Cable news??? Only FOXN is in the bottom of the top 20 cable channels. Possibly because stations and nets haven't done anything yet...Breaking news they do. Misleading article.

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