Nielsen’s average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing (C3) dropped only 3% in total day ratings from a year ago for the broadcast and cable networks, according to MoffettNathanson Research.
Broadcast 18-49 C3 ratings were down 1% in total day ratings to 5.48 million, while cable 18-49 C3 ratings were off 4% to 11.66 million.
Although prime time 18-49 ratings continued to see some more severe declines -- down 11% for broadcast and 5% for cable -- MoffettNathanson says the data was impacted by one less NFL weekend in the month and not indicative of underlying ratings performance.
The drop among cable networks prime-time 18-49 viewers was less than January 2015’s decline from the year before, which was 11%.
NBC grew 12% during the month among 18-49 viewers -- due to one extra airing of its top rated “Sunday Night Football”; CBS was down 18%, due to having one wildcard NFL game this year, versus a higher-rated AFC Championship game last year; and ABC dropped 16% due to general weakness.
Fox sank 21% in January, due to the shift of airing “Empire” to second quarter this year from the first quarter a year ago, as well as no prime-time NFL games in January.
Viacom’s trio of cable networks witnessed improvement in prime time -- leading all cable networks: Nick at Nite (up 75,000 18-49 viewers), VH1 (54,000 better); and Nickelodeon (improving 45,000).
Other cable networks gaining include HGTV (up 15,000); ID (adding 13,000); E! (5,000 more viewers); BET (improving 3,000); Spike (2,000); and TNT (1,000 viewers).
Cable networks losing the most -- ESPN, down 146,000 18-49 viewers; USA, off 98,000; ABC Family (now Freeform), dropping 57,000.