Commercial retention of TV has changed little in 2012 versus 2011 -- although some cable networks have seen declines. The average commercial retention is around an 85 index for the four networks, according to the Discovery Communications Ad Sales unit. These numbers compare commercial ratings (C3) to program ratings (P3).
CBS and Fox were at an 86 index -- CBS was up from 85 a year ago, Fox down from a 87. NBC was next at 85, down from 86 a year ago. ABC has been at an 83 number, down from a 84.
The study concludes that this is remarkable "even as time-shifted viewing for these networks grew five points to an all-time high of 30% in 2012." Much of this good news comes from new video-on-demand metrics, which are now included by Nielsen in the C3 ratings -- commercial ratings plus three days of DVR playback -- for the first time this year.
VOD programming by the broadcast networks is being made available immediately after airing and with full commercial loads. Since fast-forwarding is being disabled by the distributors, broadcast gains additional time-shifted viewing without losing commercial audience.
Many of the cable networks are also in the mid-80s index when it comes to commercial retention -- although the report notes that some cable entertainment networks have slipped year-to-year.
AMC has been at an 83 index in 2012 -- five points lower than the 88 number of a year ago. TNT is at an 89 index this year, down from its 93 level a year ago. CNN is at an 81 index, down from a 88 number in 2011.
Looking at other cable networks: Discovery is at 82 (down from an 85); ABC Family, 86 (down from an 89); and Lifetime, 83 (down from an 86).