Sports Push C3 Ratings Up, Scripted Shows Dip

watchingtvNational 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 million.

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.

Of particular 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.

The 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
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3 comments about "Sports Push C3 Ratings Up, Scripted Shows Dip".
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  1. Larry Schatz from Randolph Media Group, November 19, 2013 at 8 a.m.

    All the more reason for C7

  2. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales, November 19, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.

    Good luck if you are a Movie studio, Retailer with a limited time event (President's Day Sale), Auto category client with a similar Sale or anyone else for that matter. Yeah, let me DVR this hour long drama, watch it 25 days later and then sit through the 22 minutes of annoying time suck Advertising (some of which has expired and is completely irrelevant now) instead of fast forwarding through the Ads and move on with my day. Nice

  3. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, November 19, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.

    How ironic the niether NBC or FOX sells its sports inventory on the C3 metric (they still use live or live plus same day).

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