National TV networks commercial ratings (C3) are slightly higher this season in October versus a year ago, thanks to sports programming on the broadcast networks. But one
troubling issue remains with returning scripted TV shows on broadcast networks.
Broadcast networks are up 1.2% to an average 11.77 million key 18-49 viewers when looking at the Nielsen C3
metric. Ad-supported cable networks are 0.5% higher to 19.99 million, according to MoffettNathanson Research. C3 ratings are average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing -- a
metric that virtually all national TV uses to guarantee their media-buying deals.
Much of broadcasters' gains resulted from improvement of sports -- the World Series for Fox, for example,
pushed up the network overall by 10.9% in prime time to 3.0 18-49 million viewers. NBC also did well thanks to “Sunday Night Football,” up 4.7% to 3.8 million 18-49 viewers in prime time.
CBS was down 3.6% to 2.6 million viewers; ABC was off 7.1% to 2.5 million viewers.
Taking sports out of the picture, there was a drop in C3 ratings in October -- 3.5%, to an average 10.2
million 18-49 viewers for the four major broadcast TV networks. Fox was down the most 9.1% to 2.4 million; ABC was off 5% to 2.6 million; and CBS lost 3.9% to 2.5 million. Only NBC was up 2.3% to 2.7
MoffettNathanson says the top 20 scripted shows are down 7% in C3 18-49 ratings. Six of the top 20 shows are new shows, versus two shows a year ago.
concern, the lowest-rated network TV shows are losing more audience than the same group a year ago. The lowest 20 rated shows are down 12%, versus last year’s bottom 20 shows.
good news is that many networks have had a number of new hits this season. Overall, Michael Nathanson writes: “While things certainly look better at the top of the leaderboard, the bottom is
literally dropping out of this industry.&rdquo