Cable Slips Faster Than Broadcast In Prime-Time

Summertime for TV networks can still be rough for broadcast TV networks -- even with new fresh programming. But now some cable networks are finding it tough going.

Cable prime-time programming for 18-49 viewers under the Nielsen C3 metric -- commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifting -- was down 9.8% to an average 18.6 million viewers, according to MoffettNathanson Research. Broadcast networks also sank but less -- off 5.1% to 5.2 million viewers.

Overall, TV dropped 8.8% to 23.8 million average viewers.

Cable sank faster than broadcast for the second straight month -- which MoffettNathanson calls “shocking.” These declines were better versus a year ago when both broadcast and cable had bad comparisons due to the 2012 London Summer Olympics -- down 49% and 13%, respectively.

Looking at specific TV networks in August of this year, NBC and ABC fared the best -- only down 1% each to an average 1.54 million and 1.27 million 18-49 viewers in the prime-time C3 measure. CBS was off 10% to 1.3 million, while Fox was down 18% to 1.0 million.

Cable networks groups were down virtually across the board: Viacom’s channels were collectively down 16% to 3.3 million; Time Warner off 15% to 2.8 million 18-49 C3; NBCU slipped 16% to 2.5 million; Discovery shed 16% to 1.9 million; A&E Networks lost 26% to 1.7 million; and AMC Networks dropped 18% to 581,000.

Only Fox cable networks witnessed growth (24%) due to the rocketing ratings from its relatively new FXX network, coming from a month-long marathon via “The Simpsons,” new to the channel.

Scripps Networks Interactive and independent cable networks also fared better than most -- with flat results versus a year ago, coming in at 1.13 million and 1.1 million 18-49 C3 viewers, respectively.

2 comments about "Cable Slips Faster Than Broadcast In Prime-Time".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, September 16, 2014 at 3:45 p.m.

    "Shocking" says MoffettNathanson. What's really shocking is that TV analysts continue to obsessing in 2014 over average minute commercial ratings (C3 AA's) and ignore TA's (total audiences) of any kind. All that has shifted temporarily is "time spent viewing" (TSL) to average commercials (AVERAGE commercials, my friends!) -- not channels (or networks or programs) tuned. Moreover, Wayne calls cable's PT C3 AA of 18.6 million (18-49) viewers a "tough" problem compared to the networks 5.2 million (18-49) PT viewers - all the time using Nielsen C-3 data. What about C-7 data? It was the basis of negotiation and deals in a notable part of the 2014-2015 Upfront! Moreover, if you are reporting on prime time commercial data (C3) for viewers 18-49, don't say TV "overall" was off 8.8%. MediaPost: It's time for some serious editorial work and in-depth reporting. Enough nonsense. Reports based on press releases and PR are a disservice to good readers. Who planted this intellectual weed?

  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, September 16, 2014 at 3:52 p.m.

    Correction: Need to correct writing errors. Sorry readers. //

    "Shocking" says MoffettNathanson. What's really shocking is that TV analysts continue to obsess in 2014 over average minute commercial ratings (C3 AA's) and ignore TA's (total audiences) of any kind. All that has shifted temporarily is the "time spent viewing" (TSV) to average commercials (AVERAGE commercials, friends!) -- not channels (or programs or networks) tuned. Moreover, Wayne calls cable's PT C3 AA of 18.6 million (18-49) viewers a "tough" problem compared to the networks' 5.2 million (18-49) PT viewers - all the time using Nielsen C-3 data. What about C-7 data? It was the basis of negotiation & deals in a notable part of the 2014-2015 Upfront! Moreover, if you are reporting on prime time commercial data (C3) for viewers 18-49, don't say TV "overall" was off 8.8%. MediaPost: It's time for some serious editorial work and in-depth reporting. Enough nonsense. Reports based on press releases and PR are a disservice to good readers. Who planted this intellectual weed?"

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