Broadcast Nets Record Higher Viewer Ratings, NBC Leads

Through the 12 weeks of the new season, now five broadcast networks -- NBC, Fox, CW, Telemundo, and Ion -- have witnessed higher viewership versus a year ago.

NBC leads all networks with 4.01 million average prime-time 18-49 viewers through Dec. 15, adding 1% from 3.97 million a year ago. The data comes as a combination of Nielsen live-plus-same-day and live plus seven days of time-shifting data.

Fox, now in third place, is at 3.13 million -- 2% higher versus 3.07 million in 2012. NBC and Fox have touted positive results, in large part because of sports programming.

CBS sits in second place at 3.43 million, down 6.3% from 3.66 million. A year ago, it won the season among 18-49 viewers -- still a key viewer group for most national TV advertisers. ABC is at 3.04 million, losing 3.5% from 3.15 million in 2012.

CW, now with a broader and slightly older programming focus, grew 11% -- now at 1.1 million 18-49 viewers versus 990,000 a year ago.

Smaller network broad-base programming network ION is up 5.3% to 400,000 viewers from 380,000 in 2012. Among the Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision -- the leading network in the category -- lost a big 20% to 1.53 million 18-49 viewers this season. Analysts place the blame on the big network's loss of young Hispanic viewers, who tend to watch more English-language networks and programming.

Smaller Spanish-language network NBCUniversal’s Telemundo is 4% higher through the first 12 weeks of the season, to 700,000 18-49 viewers.

Looking at total viewers among the big broadcast networks: CBS still maintains its lead with an average 11.7 million, down 0.7% from a year ago; NBC is at 9.9 million, 12% higher; ABC, 8.5 million, losing 3%; Fox, 7.3 million, up 8%, and CW, 2.1 million, adding 8% from a year ago.

Univision is at an average 3.2 million prime-time viewers, down 13.7%; Telemundo is at 1.3 million, 5% higher versus a year ago.

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