Cable Nets Up Viewership In February

Although the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl had predictable lower results for competing broadcast networks, cable networks overall witnessed slightly better ratings versus the same period a year ago.

Cable networks gained 3.5% in February 2014 versus February 2013 in key adult 18-49 average viewers to 21.2 million in prime time, according to the Nielsen C3 metric, the average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing. The analysis came from media industry research analyst MoffettNathanson.
 
Overall, broadcast networks were up 4.6% to 12.8 million 18-49 prime-time viewers. Broadcast and cable networks gained 3.9% to 34.1 million overall during this past February.

NBC, which had the Sochi Winter Olympics, was up 212% to an average 4.9 million 18-49 prime-time C3 viewers for the month of February. Fox, which had the Super Bowl, improved 103% to 5.9 million viewers.

Those without special sporting events suffered: CBS was down 67% to 1.7 million 18-49 prime-time C3 viewers; ABC was off 42% to 1.5 million 18-49 prime-time C3 viewers.

The better-performing cable network groups in February included: AMC Networks, up 23% to 1.1 million 18-49 prime-time C3 viewers; Discovery Networks, which grew 8% to 2.2 million; and Viacom, which gained 7% to 3.8 million; Scripps Network Interactive, 4% higher to 1.2 million; and Fox cable channels, up 3% to 1.4 million.

Those losing ground included Disney-ABC cable networks, down 8% to 1.4 million; ESPN, which declined 9% for the month; Time Warner cable networks, down 16% to 3.1 million; and TBS off 11% and TNT down 4%.

By way of comparison, for the 2012 Summer Olympics games, broadcast networks gained 54% in August 2012, while cable networks were down 12%.

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