Ad-Supported Cable Viewing Dips

Woman-watching-TV-AIn a rerun of sorts, all television viewing continues to remain at high levels, when looking at the virtually completed TV year in 2012 versus a year ago. But a key contributor to previous overall longtime TV gains, ad-supported cable, seems to be weakening.

In 2012, the average total day hours of viewing per person per week so far is 34.0 hours, when looking at Nielsen's live plus seven days of time-shifted data. That is virtually the same as 2011, when it was at 34.1 hours. This data comes from Turner Broadcasting's Turner Research.

By way of comparison, with the big viewing 2012 year that included the London Summer Olympics and the U.S. presidential elections, the 34.0 weekly hour number in 2012 is up over the 33.5 hours per week in 2008, the last time the Summer Olympics and the U.S. Presidential elections occurred.

In 2012, live TV viewing continues to drop, now by nearly a half-hour per week to 31.3 hours in 2012 from 31.7 hours in 2011. Time-shifted viewing is at 2.7 hours a week up from 2.5 hours in 2011 -- and almost double that of 2008, when it was 1.5 hours per week.

Also this year, ad-supported cable declined slightly to 17.3 hours per week -- its first decline in recent memory. Ad-supported cable was 17.5 hours per week in 2011. The four broadcast network average in 2012 was 7.7 hours per week, also down a bit from the 7.8-hour level in 2011. In 2008, network viewing was 8.5 hours per week.

Other viewing -- which includes Spanish-language broadcast networks, independent networks, and premium pay channels -- grew to 9.0 hours per week, up from 8.8 hours in 2011 and 8.8 hours in 2010.

Although ad-supported cable lost ground for the year overall, it did gain in the fourth quarter of 2012 -- up to 17.6 hours a week in 2012 from a 17.2 level in 2011 and the same 17.2 level in 2010.

Total TV viewing during the fourth quarter grew by almost a half-hour to 35.1 hours a week, up from 34.7 hours in 2011. Total viewing was at 34.7 for 2010 and 2008.

During the fourth quarter of 2012 so far, the four broadcast networks viewing per week was at 8.5 hours. It was 8.7 hours in 2011 and 2010. Other TV viewing grew to 9.0 hours a week from 8.8 hours a week.

Tags: cable tv, metrics, tv
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4 comments about "Ad-Supported Cable Viewing Dips".
  1. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace , December 13, 2012 at 9:10 a.m.
    What do they expect? High Prices, Shoddy Programming and Excessive Advertising result in one thing, FEWER VIEWERS. 3,000,000 Households have cancelled their subscriptions in the last two years, and more are certainly to follow.
  2. Walter Sabo from SABO media , December 13, 2012 at 7:22 p.m.
    Radio is steady, no change.
  3. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , December 13, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.
    Wayne - The underlying numbers for the "ad supported cable" conclusion are so extraordinarily unstable that relying them to "conclude" an average change of 12 minutes out of 17 hours isn't supported analytically. Yes, a lot of statisticians love obsessing over these minutiae and will spend hours telling you it's important. As a guy who regularly has to interpret these reports advise clients about what's important...that's not important. Cheers...Doug
  4. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , December 13, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.
    @William - about 2,000,000 of the household drop is a census physical household drop. The recession took a toll delaying new (young) households and causing some adults to combine households.