Five weeks into the TV season, Fox has made the biggest gains as well as leading all broadcast networks among key viewing metrics that advertisers value most: the Nielsen
C3 rating among 18-49 viewers.
Fox is averaging 3.71 million 18-49 viewers and a 2.9 Nielsen C3 rating in prime time for the period of Sept. 19 through Oct. 23. C3 is the metric of commercial ratings plus three days of DVR playback. Fox is up around 20% in C3 ratings year-to-year.
Fox has been making gains with new fall shows, including "The X Factor" and "New Girl." Fox also had made viewership improvements due to a full seven-game World Series.
CBS has also gained strong results in many areas -- including its own highly rated new sitcom "2 Broke Girls," as well as a relaunch of the "Two and a Half Men" comedy -- and is in second place at 3.47 million 18-49 viewers with a 2.7 rating. CBS is down 3% year-to-year in C3 18-49 ratings.
NBC is next, mostly becuase of its highly rated "Sunday Night Football" programming. NBC is averaging 3.07 million 18-49 viewers, which comes to a 2.4 Nielsen C3 rating. NBC is off 11% in its prime time C3 versus a year ago.
ABC is in fourth place, averaging 2.97 million viewers after five weeks -- a 2.3 rating -- down 7% versus a year ago.
Looking at younger demographics -- the C3 ratings for 18-34 viewers -- all networks are down except for Fox. It is averaging 1.72 million (a 2.5 rating) up versus 1.57 million of a year ago. NBC is next this year at 1.40 million (a 2.1 rating). ABC is at 1.18 million (1.7 rating) and CBS is at 1.17 million (1.7 rating).
CW is averaging a Nielsen C3 metric with 519,000 18-34 viewers, good for a 0.8 rating. This is down 29.4% from its 735,000 average of a year ago -- a 1.1 rating. CW also lost 26% among 18-49 viewers to a 924,000 average.
This year, CBS leads as it did a year ago in overall viewers -- at 10.8 million, virtually identical to its results in 2010. Fox is at 8.49 million this year, followed by ABC at 8.46 million, NBC is at 6.84 million, and CW at 1.6 million.
Overall, David Scardino, entertainment specialist at Santa Monica, Calif.-based media agency RPA, says what is interesting is that the overall five-network broadcast viewer average has gained about 2.5% year-to-year in C3 -- about the same percentage gain as Nielsen live program-plus-same-day metrics.
Looking at the aggregate five-network average for 18-49 viewers, however, those numbers are down 2.8% to a prime-time C3 average of 14.548 million from a year ago.
Younger viewers are down far more, 6.2% to average 5.98 million.
While analysts have suggested that many younger viewers are migrating to digital areas, growing Spanish-language TV network Univision has been claiming consistently improved results among young 18-34 viewers in its broadcast TV programming.