Third-Quarter TV C3 Ratings Sink, ABC Fares Best Among Broadcasters

Commercial TV ratings continued their downward trend, sinking in the second half of the summer and into the new TV season.

Broadcast networks' prime-time average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing (C3) sank 9% among 18-49 viewers to average 5.54 million, per Nielsen. Ad-supported cable networks were down 8% to 17.01 million, analysts MoffettNathanson Research said.

ABC fared the best among the broadcast networks -- down 3% to 1.18 million 18-49 viewers -- as a result of higher viewing for college football and “The Bachelorette.” NBC was off 6% to 1.9 million, while Fox was down 15% at 1.1 million, due to fewer college football games in the period.

CBS was off 17% to 1.2 million, due to one less “Thursday Night Football” game and summer’s “Under The Dome” earning lower viewership results.

Three cable network groups were higher in C3 ratings for total day 18-49 viewership: AMC Networks, up 10% to 443,000 thanks to strong results from “Fear The Walking Dead”; Discovery Communications, rising 1% to 1.14 million; and Scripps Network Interactive, adding 1% to 673,000.

On the losing side, NBCUniversal was off 16% to 1.1 million; A&E dropped 14% to 809,000; 21st Century Fox gave back 13% to 719,000; and Disney was off 12% to 733,000.

MoffettNathanson says Viacom was down 11% to 2.1 million, but showed some ratings improvement at Nickelodeon. Time Warner sank 2% to 1.9 million, hurt by the loss of Nascar. Walt Disney also suffered because of the loss of Nascar programming.

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